Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The new Devich-Mayfield-Sletten House

Woo Hoo! No more 5 people a dog a cat and a rat in a tiny 2 bedroom apartment. We are moving to Ceres into this 5 bedroom house and my mom will be moving in with us too! We are all very excited! Thus the excessive use of exclamation marks. ;-)

Yuck

Even though we really need it I still don't LIKE it :-)

He saved me because he loved me.

Psalm 18:17-20

From on high he reached down and seized me;
he drew me forth from the mighty waters.
He snatched me from my powerful foe,
from my enemies whose strength I could not match.

They assailed me in the day of my misfortune,
but the Lord was my support.
He brought me forth into freedom,
he saved me because he loved me.


(From Matins this morning)

--
Larry Devich
I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
Philippians 4:11b

Monday, February 27, 2012

Max and Nicole


Max and Nicole, originally uploaded by ldevich.

Cousin Nicole meets Max

Space Elevator!

For those who play Civilization or are Science Fiction fans this is familiar.  I'm pretty sure they are delusional about actually getting it built by 2050 but it would certainly be cool if they did :-)

Obayashi's Space Elevator to Be Operational by 2050

February 27, 2012 by Range

Space

obayashi-space-elevator

The holy grail of getting into orbit has always been the ultimate development of space elevators, long, thin strands that could ferry passengers and cargo into orbit at minimal expenditure. Now a Japanese company, Obayashi Corp, specializing in engineering and construction, announced that it aims to complete a space elevator by 2050.

concept-drawing-space-elevator

overall-concept-space-elevatorObayashi Corp is building the Tokyo Sky Tree, an observation tower under construction in Sumida, Tokyo, Japan, and has been the tallest artificial structure in Japan since 2010, and their plan calls for a 96,000 kilometers of carbon nanotube cables extending from an anchor point planted deep in the sea, into space, where it would be secured by a spaceport, which also serves as a counterweight. There would also be a terminal station midway, at 36,000 km, which would house laboratories and accommodations since the trip to orbit could take about 7.5 days.

The JSEA (Japan Space Elevator Association) estimates that building such an elevator would cost ¥1 trillion ($12.5 billion), which isn't bad considering how much is invested into defense in the US.

The elevator will allow 30 passengers at a time to travel upwards at 200 kph (125 mph). It makes sense to use carbon nanotubes, but skeptics aren't convinced that this will actually be feasible. All in all, at least the goal is ambitious.

[via Obayashi]

--
Larry Devich
I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
Philippians 4:11b

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Testing


Testin, originally uploaded by ldevich.

So, supposedly this should have automatically posted to my blog, but I didn't see it there, so I'm trying this instead. That is going to Flickr, where I should have all of my photos anyway, and uploading it from there.

Test post

So, everything I put on the blog is supposed to go to Facebook but it seems it doesn't always STAY there.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Meditation on Matthew 2:7-12

What first strikes me as I read this passage today is the idea of the star guiding the wise men to Jesus so they can worship him. It tells me that God can use unexpected methods to bring us to the place he wants us to be. I have heard all sorts of explanations for the star of Bethlehem. Super Novas or conjunctions of planets or whatever. All I know is that the star was what God was using to guide these gentiles to the place where Jesus was to be found. Today God does the same thing, drawing us to the church, where we find Jesus present in the mass, body and blood, soul and divinity. He uses whatever means he needs to use in order to move us in the right direction. Always gently and lovingly guiding us forward so we will be with Him forever. The star can be a person who speaks to you of Christ, or a book you read, the Word of God in the bible or a work of art that makes you think about God or even just a beautiful church or a sunset or a flower. God can and does use anything and everything to guide His children home.

Lord, guide me home to you and let me be as a star to others, showing them where Jesus is to be found. Amen.

--
Larry Devich
I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
Philippians 4:11b

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

From last summer

Our brutal winter continues

Matthew 1:18-25, again :-)

4:25am Today I am meditating once again on Matthew 1:18-25. Once more the name Emmanuel leaps out at me and brings me joy. God is with us! What could be better than that? God is with us, and we call him Father! Yes, that is even better I think. And we don't just call him Father, we call him Abba, Papa, Daddy! As a little child to a father are we to our God. He cares for us, loves us and protects us and we just sit back and look at him with love and say, "Daddy!" when we see him.

He is with us everywhere and always, but in a very special way in the church, in His bride, our mother, the church. And in the church He is with us most importantly in the sacraments, in Baptism and in the Eucharist where we eat His very body and drink His very blood. I jokingly say sometimes "You are what you eat." This is so very true in the case of communion with the Lord. We become closer to Him in communion, he draws us in to him and we are His very body, as are our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are the bride of Christ and the body of Christ. We eat the body of Christ and drink His blood. The same blood is in all Christians. We are actually far closer to one another than mere brothers and sisters, we are the same body! The body of Christ. We are as close as adjoining cells in a heart, since yesterday was Valentines day I have hearts on my mind I guess. Or in my case I'm probably a toenail on a little toe. It doesn't do much but it is a nuisance and causes problems if you bump it too hard and you sort of wonder why it's there at all. But no matter what part we are we are under the head, which is Christ.

We are all one Body. Christ is the head. All Christians are closer to us than brothers and sisters. But Christ came for all people and desires all humanity to have this same communion with Him, so we must act in love toward all men and seek to draw them to Christ. Not with threats and anger and condemnation, but with love. Jesus said "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:35.

My commitment today is, of course, to act out and show the love of Christ to all I encounter during this day. Amen.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Further meditation on Matthew 1:18-25

4:20am

In reading over this passage for a second morning, and talking to Jesus about His coming to save us, I thought for while about my utter dependence on God. How everything I have, everything I am and everything I can have and can be, comes from the gracious hand of God. It seemed to me, as I pondered, that this dependence is so complete that if ever God stopped thinking about me I would cease to exist in that moment. But no, that can't be quite right. I think that the Lord has given us a truly independent existence. That we have true free will to choose Love, that is to to choose God. Of course without the grace of God even that is impossible to us, after all, faith itself is a gift of God. I'm not sure I can explain what I'm getting at here. While we are dependent on God for everything, our very existence even, we have still been created as eternal beings. Designed to live forever in communion with God, and only in communion with God can we find true fulfillment and peace and joy. But having free will we can turn away from God, the most foolish thing any creature could possibly do! Having turned away from God we are no longer receiving life from Him, and so we are no longer truly alive, yet still we exist. Without God we still exist, we can think and function in the world but compared to the life we are meant to have with God, we are dead. Jesus, whose name means "God Saves", was born of a human mother, God in human flesh, in order to restore us to life and to communion with God.

As was pointed out in a commentary I read on this passage, this coming of Jesus, of God in human flesh to save us means that we need to be saved. That we are utterly without hope without Him. So our religion, our relationship with Christ, our knowing of God, these are not peripheral things for us. These are the central realities of our lives! You can't say simply, 'Oh yes I believe in God' and leave it at that. We need Jesus in every corner of our lives, because He IS our life. Claiming we love God and never talking to Him, never spending any time with Him, shows I don't really mean what I said. To live in this way is to be a "practical atheist" who, while claiming to believe in God, acts as if He did not exist.

The fact that I have, several times in my life, been a declared atheist, may be due to the fact that I find it very hard to proclaim something that is not true to me, a known Aspie trait. I cannot for long say "I am a Christian" if it is not my very identity, if it is not my center. This is because Christ demands that we die, that we take up our cross and follow Him. So when I look around me and realize that Christ is not central to all I do, that God is somewhere "out there" and not here with me, that is when it becomes possible to say, "well, probably there is really nothing out there after all, perhaps we are alone and there is no God." No God means I can do what I like, be free of all restraints, or so it would seem to the one lost in that lie. But God won't leave me out there in the darkness and constantly calls me back to Him.

To wrap up and figure out where my commit comes from this morning I just want to say that having God in my life is not something I add on to the edge of life. It is not just another item on my weekly "To Do" list. No, it is utterly central to all that I am, or it is nothing at all. Christianity is not something you can take on as a hobby, it is life itself. As Paul said in Galatians, "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." I no longer have any life outside of Christ. My day starts and ends with God, God is with me every moment of the day, even when I forget about Him for a moment or two He is still there. As St. Patrick is said to have prayed:

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

AMEN.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Meditation on Matthew 1:18-25

In this passage what jumped out at me as I read was the faith of Joseph, and the obedience of Joseph. It seems to me that most of the time we hear about the faith and the obedience of Mary, and surely she is the most amazing example of faith in the bible, but I don't think we should neglect to think about and honor Joseph for his faith. Joseph found that Mary was pregnant, even though they had not had relations. He came to the obvious conclusion but was trying to figure out some way of quietly ending things, without disgracing Mary. This passage doesn't say if Mary tried to explain to him what happened or not. I'm sure if she did he found it impossible to believe.

Then an angel of the Lord came to him in a dream. I wonder how often God speaks in dreams today? I know I have had a few dreams that seemed to give a vague sort of indication of what the solution to a problem might be, or a direction I should take was pointed out. But I have never had a dream like Joseph had, where an angel of the Lord appeared and gave me a command. I think I'm glad that hasn't happened, that would be truly frightening. Most often God speaks to us through His Word, that is where we find His direction and His commands to us; love the Lord with your whole heart, love your neighbor as yourself.

So Joseph sees the angel of the Lord in a dream, and the angel explains to him what has happened and who this child that Mary is so unexpectedly carrying will be. He will be the one who saves the people from their sins, He is to be the savior! He is Emmanuel, God with us! Can this be any easier to believe than that Mary has conceived by the Holy Spirit? I don't imagine it was that easy to grasp, I'm certain I would have been baffled and angry and upset by the whole scenario. What does Joseph do? He obeys. He takes Mary into his home and he raises Jesus as his own son.

What do I take away from this meditation this morning? What commitment do I make as a result of reading this passage? Christ came to save us from our sins, but this was not an easy thing for Joseph and might not be easy for us. There may be times when it is confusing or frightening to obey the Lord and follow Him. But I need to do what Joseph did and trust in God and obey Him. That is my commitment for today, trust and obey. Amen.

--
Larry Devich
I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
Philippians 4:11b

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Meditation on Mark 1:40-45

Gospel
Mark 1:40-45
The leprosy left him, and he was made clean.

A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, "If you wish, you can make me clean." Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, "I do will it. Be made clean." The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once.
He said to him, "See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them."
The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This passage from the gospel of Mark is today's gospel reading for the mass. I heard a sermon on it last night at St. Charles and was moved to use if for today's meditation. I think it is one of the most amazing passages in the bible.

Leprosy is like sin, disgusting and deadly. Like leprosy sin deadens our feelings over time so we are not even aware of the horrific damage it is doing to our souls. Like leprosy sin makes us unfit for communion with others, with our fellow man and with God. Sin is also contagious, being around those engaging in deliberate and grievous sin makes us susceptible to sin as well. All very grim stuff isn't it? But then there is Jesus who says, moved with pity, "Be made clean." Jesus then touches the leper! He reaches out and takes on our sin and in the end he dies for it. Such amazing love is incomprehensible to me. Jesus, while we are spitting on him and beating him and crucifying him reaches out and touches us and heals us of the disease of sin. More than that even, he reaches out to us who are already dead in sins, are nothing but a rotting corpse, and restores life and health to our spirits. Thanks be to God!

And so I kneel before Christ and pray, "Lord make me clean. Amen."

--
Larry Devich
I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
Philippians 4:11b

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Bacon and Love

I think that being God's Love in the world means reacting to life in a spirit of sacrifice, in a spirit of Love to neighbor, which in my case is my family mostly. When I see needs I should work to meet those needs, when I see sin I should forgive it and heal it. When I am frustrated I ought to recall Jesus on the cross giving His all for me and strive to respond in that same spirit.

Here is a mundane example of how I have failed to do this up until now. I have a refrigerator in my bedroom in which I store my food, separate from the rest of the family's food. This is because I want to eat a certain diet and felt that I could better control what I ate by keeping my supplies apart the rest. However, I bought a large supply of bacon, and then did not cook it frequently enough to consume it before it went bad. Why did I do this? Because I was afraid the smell would let them know I was eating yummy bacon, and that would cause them to beg for some of my bacon. Yet because I didn't eat it, out of fear someone would want some, it has started to go bad, now no one can eat it. Well, not quite, actually it smells like it's almost turning so I'm cooking the whole pile into very crispy strips to sprinkle on salads or use in other things, I'll store it in the freezer, but still... This was wrong! It was not loving but selfish. Now, does that mean I must give over all of my food to be consumed by the rest of the family? Actually, yes it does. It is not an act of love to hoard food in my room, I'm pretty sure. Out of fear that I would be deprived of the food that I wanted (needed?) to eat in the future I held back from eating it myself even when I wanted it! Not only is that selfish it is foolish as well, self defeating to say the least.

FEAR vs. LOVE

That is what it's all about isn't it? Fear of hunger, fear of being taken advantage of, fear of humiliation, fear of poverty. But the Bible says that perfect love casts out fear! (1 John 4:18)

What then prevents me from living in love? Lack of trust for one. I have not trusted God to actually take care of me if I give all to Him. If I share my goods, my bacon, I fear that I will simply be deprived of them for no good purpose, I thought that it was my job to hold onto these things for the future, that future that, in the case of my bacon, never came!

So no, it is not my job to hoard things for future use, it is my job to act in love to my neighbor and trust to God to provide for my needs. A simple lesson provided by the smell of slightly spoiled bacon. Amen.

--
Larry Devich
I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
Philippians 4:11b

A second meditation on Matthew 1:1-17

This morning I meditated again on Matthew 1:1-17. A thought came to me during my meditation this morning that God, being infinite in wisdom, knowledge, power and love, knew when he created the cosmos everything that would ever happen in it. I realized that He chose to create knowing full well the cost to Him that would be incurred by the rebellion of humanity against Him. That from the very beginning of His creative act he knew that He would take on human flesh and redeem the world. Somehow all of the pain and horrors of the world are outshone in eternity by the love between man and God and man and man and within God in the Trinity as well, I suppose. Since God is this infinite being of Love we can be assured that everything does work out for the very best. This thought doesn't really relate directly to the passage but it came to me as I sat and pondered it and talked with Jesus so I'm going with it as my thought of the day. My commitment today is to show forth that Love of God in my relationships with those around me, to be Christ's Love to the world.

--
Larry Devich
I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
Philippians 4:11b

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Meditation on Matthew 1

The Angry Gnome is turning over a new leaf. Or so I hope. Instead of political rants and self absorbed pouts I'm planning on sharing my morning meditations here instead. What do you think of that idea? I'm using Fr. John Bartunek's book "The Better Part." (http://www.amazon.com/Better-Part-Christ-Centered-Resource-Personal/dp/1933271108) as my starting point, using the method of mediation he presents, Concentrate, Consider, Converse and Commit. Concentrate on the Lord in prayer, then consider carefully and prayerfully a gospel passage, converse with the Lord about it and finally make a commitment to really do something with what I've read. Below is the result of todays effort.

This morning I read Matthew 1:1-17, that is the genealogy of Jesus.

I considered this, as it relates how Jesus comes into the world, the real world of sin and death. The real world of history, the world of lust and hate and sweat and tears and hunger and pain. Not a floating spirit in the sky but a tiny baby, a young boy, a man, a human being born of a real mother at a particular point in history, in a real town in Palestine.

I thanked Him for coming for me and confessed my myriad sins to Him right then and there. It was a moving moment for me. I am grateful that on this day my Lord granted me an experience of His love in this way, that I was given the joy of feeling His love in an emotional manner, that this day was not hollow and dry, as some days are, but that He granted me this boon to strengthen my faith and my will to continue on in my journey of faith and of prayer. I conversed back and forth some with Jesus, recalling how He entered into history not through a special line of Holy Saints but through a long line of both sinners and saints, kings and prostitutes, murderers and adulterers, gentiles and Hebrews. Normal, average, everyday people were His ancestors and He used them to bring about salvation for the world. He will use each and every one of us to change the world as well, He will use me.

At the end of my prayer time I made a commitment to recall throughout the day the reality of Christ, the physicality of Jesus, that He is not only a figure in history and God in heaven, but that He is here on earth in His very flesh and blood each and every day in the Holy Eucharist, He is present on altars all over the world at this very moment. He is in His people as real food and real drink. (John 6:52-59) He is not "up there somewhere" but here with us. My commitment today is to recall that wonderful truth all through the day and to act as though it is true, to behave as if I were truly in the presence of my Lord each moment of my day.

Lord help me to do this. Amen.

--
Larry Devich
I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
Philippians 4:11b

Thursday, February 9, 2012

New Toy... er tool

I just picked up a keyboard for my iPad that doubles as a protective case. It's from Logitech and so far I'm loving it. Right now I'm sitting across from Best Buy at a Starbucks having a cup of coffee while I kill time waiting for the next Rapid Bus back to Livermore. It took me about 30 seconds to hook it up and apparently it has enough of a charge to work for now. Which brings up the one thing I'm not all that thrilled about, charging. It turns out that you need to plug it into a computer to charge it! There is no dedicated plug to use, you charge it on a computer via USB and micro USB. That is really annoying because part of my logic and justification for getting this keyboard was the desire to get rid of my computer so I would not be tempted to play Civilization all day long anymore! <sigh> Ah well, I suppose I'll just have to keep it and use it for charging my keyboard and playing Civilization. The fates have spoken.

--
Larry Devich
I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
Philippians 4:11b

Friday, February 3, 2012

Dry

I'm out for another walk on a nice sunny day and there is no water in Arroyo Mocho, which is just plain wrong for February. :-(. Come on Oregon, send us some of that rain you are hogging!