Friday, July 30, 2010

Robots in Disguise!

Today, while at work I experienced on of the most terrifying moments of my life. Don't ask me how I came to it, but I actually feared for a full 3 seconds that I might genuinely be a robot designed to imitate human emotions and feelings. Fortunately my fears were quickly calmed by the immense unlikelihood of the notion. Yet I'm still left with that lose-lose situation afterthought that I'm either stuck with possession of a brain that actually take a full 3 seconds to debunk a self-robotic-hypothesis,...or just perhaps...

(3 seconds later)

No, never mind...

However unrelated, this whole bit of nonsense reminds of me of some very good sense!

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is; His good, pleasing, and perfect will." Romans 12:2




Thursday, July 29, 2010

Selling Out Ft. Dragonflies

Dragonfly Fact: A dragonfly nymph begins life as a water dwelling creature, completely incapable of life outside of the pond. Yet inescapably, it must at some point in its adolescence, climb a branch, out of the water, dry its aquatic body out in the sun, and crawl out of its old skin, let its newfound wings expand, and from then on, embrace life as a creature of the sky.

Ok, so maybe it sounds a bit lame, but can I be completely honest and make an open confession? I love grocery shopping! Actually it runs worse than that! I love that I get to plan out meals ahead of time and scan flyers for the best deals in order to make the most of my time. It then goes without saying that I love having an amazing brand-used '97 Chev Cavalier in which I can do my grocery shopping and drive to work in. Furthermore, I love the responsibility of keeping my car clean, cared for and kept. Even though work itself is frustratingly boring some days, I can't deny that I am so grateful to God for the Opportunity to work and make a little money! I love that I can sit at my desk for several hours a month, tracking and budgeting every penny, cause I'm counting on each one. I love that I will be moving soon (hopefully) to a new apartment, which will later become the first home for myself and my beloved bride-to-be! I love that even after 14 months of being together, the thought of making dinner, doing dishes or reading together still bestows upon me Excitement!

And I can't explain why these otherwise completely ordinary, day-to-day changes captivate me to such a degree, but I strongly suspect the continual joy of knowing HIM for whom I labour, might have something to do with it! I really did wonder a lot when I was younger and observing these transitioning dragonflies, how in the name of God did these creatures attempt to grasp the metamorphosis before them? To become to completely OTHER, yet still maintain those traces of sameness. At the same time of observing dragonflies, I would find myself wondering how on earth I would face transition of responsibility when the time came. Maybe most of us wonder. Well, here I go now!

It's definitely scarier than I could have imagined!

Plus, it's more of an ongoing change than I anticipated.

And I have far more questions than I ever have before.

Well, I don't know if this means I'm "selling out", but if embracing the adult world of work and responsibility with anticipation and joy labels me as such, I will happily bare the title. Life is short. And ALL of it is precious!

Whether underwater,

in the air,

or anywhere In Between...



Friday, July 16, 2010

Carpe Diem

He didn't need to of course. It certainly was not to imply that I was any more deserving than others. But God decided to bless me today. When I finished work at 3:00 PM this afternoon, and stepped out into the hot sunshine to walk to my car, I realized I had been blessed. For exactly where my car was parked, at that exact time, a tall narrow ventilation shaft was casting a perfect shadow across my drivers seat. Almost every other car was roasting in direct sunlight. The rising sun still had trapped heat within my small car, but as I took the wheel, there was no denying that a little shade goes a long way! Barely a meter long, probably with only a half hour lifespan, but that shadow was a sweet gesture from a loving Father. Along with everything else in all creation, it was made, so that God would be glorified. Just one of the thousands of blessings I'm sure I overlook everyday. So, here's one blessing that, even though small, deserves some worshipful gratitude!
So I will praise Him!


Jake Rivers

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Birthday Party

I don't know that I've ever been the "birthday type", despite my regular practice. It's almost as if there was a missing vital piece of information that is needed for the celebratory implications of a birthday to make practical sense. With variations ranging from anxiousness to full fledged mortification at the fleetingness of life, I still maintain that core perspective on birthdays that suggests a deer caught in headlights. This brings to mind the little joke that birthdays are worse than cigarettes because it's easier to get hooked and it doesn't take as many to kill you.

In all honesty I have fears about entering into each new year. There is so much hurt that comes in life and I sometimes feel like I haven't finished healing from the previous before heading into the next. The hope in opportunity is a double edged sword.

The time in between birthdays is when people die. It's when they fall away. It's when they make simple, hurtful mistakes like I did today when I said simple, hurtful things. In exile, we still remain.

But wonder of wonders, our God and Judge calls us to be a people of celebration. Even in jail cells, even in mountain caves, even in the midst of this present evil age. Because He still gifts lavishly. Not just breath, sunshine, love, and food, but His own presence and infinite grace. His calling us to celebrate, causes us to demonstrates how we view Him in our hearts. For to truly celebrate ANYTHING authentically in this life, is to declare that He is greater than any of powers in this world that can take it away. It is no waste for my to celebrate another blessed year of life, even during that year of my life in which death and suffering will makes its painful interruption for me. Through the cross of Christ, I am able to claim victory over death. How futile the forces of evil that think they can match the mercies of our Lord! No, this is only one day out of many, in which we defiantly celebrate our total victory, mid-battle!

Because He lives,
I can face tomorrow!
Because He lives,
All Fear is gone!

Because I know,
He Holds the future,
And life is worth a living,
Just because He lives!

Oh, yes we celebrate! The Party is our eternal destination. And good parties, you don't wait until you get there to be excited for them!


Jake (25 years young!) Rivers

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Salt and Pepper

For quite some time Ashleigh has been tantalizing me with tales of the Brazilian table. Meat, beans, rice, and so many other wonderful ingredients...I finally had the privilege of enjoying my first Brazilian meal today thanks to the aforementioned, ever-talented finacee! She was definitely right about one thing: They don't go easy on the salt and pepper!

We followed our late lunch with a beautiful afternoon-evening of rest, walking, loving, and talking. The wonderful thing about Ash is we can talk about anything. Sometimes simple, sometimes serious. There are some days where it just feels so good to be alive. Other days the weight and messiness of this broken world seems to turn even the warmest summer day cold. Its not just a weight of the past. There's the confusion of today and the fear of the future to further complicate this crazy life.

Today wasn't a hard day, but it definitely had some hard moments.

Just like it had some beautiful, amazing, heart-stirring moments.

All in the same day.

The subsequent angst reminds me of when I was younger, and how I would eat all my veggies first, so I could enjoy the meat for last! I think if I had my choice, I would want to reapply that tactic: Just deal with all the hard days in life first, and then kick back let the good times roll! However, here I am, picking at the messy parts of life, like they were intrusive vestiges of egg shell in my fry pan.

It is hard today. And there are many more hard days I'm already seeing on the horizon. I'm not trying to discredit all the blessing, but in Christ's name, I am looking forward to the day when He finally does away completely with the power of sin.

But for now, as I continue this heart-breaking, heart-melting, beautiful journey with my beautiful bride-to-be, I will resolve again to treasure every step we are given together. After all, I can't think of anyone else I'd rather be with, as we face the ceaseless spate that falls from the heavens. Sometimes, cascading, sometimes dribbling. In this rain we shall party, as life drops upon us good days and bad days; life and death. A little salt, and a little pepper.

The Master Chef is knows what he is doing. He always does.

After all, He made Ashleigh. And a scrumptious dish like that, does not happen by accident!


Jake Rivers (who is "hooked" on his Ash for life!)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Love-Train of Thought

The choices! The options! The unceasingly overwhelming selection! A young engaged couple stood in the midst of the Cambridge Sears, scan gun in hand and shower and wedding gifts on their minds. How long did it take before the confusion began to erode communication, and subsequently cohesion? Who would have guessed planning a wedding/life together would reveal so much about my own sinfulness?

But praise be to the Lord Jesus Christ for display furniture, on which couples may escape to, to be honest about their feelings!

How fitting it is that among a thousand and one gifts, I'm marrying the best one. Whether she sees or not, God has given her so much patience and so much grace to give. Not that she always feels it, but there is no question that God has given her the discipline to bear with a confusing and frustrating sinner named Jake and to do so with love.

I don't think I'll ever know why for sure, but she loves me enough to desire my last name to be her own, even though I've forced it into Santa's naughty list irrevocably a thousand times over. She runs through my mind, despite its contamination. She feels safe in my arms despite the blood on my hands. She believes grace can win.

How great are you God, who plants seeds of love in sinful soil! Thank you for the gift of Ashleigh; for being able to spend one more amazing day with her today.



Jake Rivers