ramblings from the noisedoctor

January 30, 2008

turning down help

Filed under: Bible study, Christianity — noisedoctor @ 10:06 am

When you’re doing almost any kind of work/project and someone offers to help, it’s very natural to accept. Of course, there are exceptions there–most notably when small children are involved. But when the project is something important, particularly something you are doing for God, it’s not wise to accept help without careful consideration.

In my experience, I’ve seen problems arise time and again when help has been offered by people:

  • who aren’t really skilled in that area
  • who aren’t really dedicated to the “cause”
  • who are big on getting their way
  • etc.

Today I was reading Ezra 4, which brought this all to mind. The Jews were ordered to go and rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. The Samaritans were opposed to this, and tried to get in on the project so they could sabotage it.

Ezra 4:1-2 (NIV)
When the enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were building a temple for the LORD, the God of Israel, they came to Zerubbabel and to the heads of the families and said, “Let us help you build because, like you, we seek your God and have been sacrificing to him since the time of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us here.”

This made me think. If I were out there with this mammoth task of rebuilding the temple and folks came and offered to help, saying they were seeking God, how would I have reacted? My initial thought probably would have been “Wow. Great. More help, that’s wonderful.” I hope that I would have taken up that matter to God in some heavy-duty prayer before responding, though. I usually do in big matters like that. But, how tempting just to accept without talking it over with God?

Yet, it’s interesting that the heads of Israel didn’t even need to pray about this matter. They simply turned down the offer:

Ezra 4:3 (NIV)
But Zerubbabel, Jeshua and the rest of the heads of the families of Israel answered, “You have no part with us in building a temple to our God. We alone will build it for the LORD, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus, the king of Persia, commanded us.”

To me that shows that they understood their mission and knew it was their job to do it. We can speculate whether that was out of faith in God or a strict adherence to the command of King Cyrus. Either way, they were firm in their commitment to building the temple and weren’t easily swayed by an offer of help simply to lighten their work load.

This is something I want to remind myself of next time I’m involved in some work for God. I think one thing I’ve noticed as a social trait in the churches/Christian groups I’ve been involved in is that we’re afraid to turn someone down: “oh, we don’t want to hurt their feelings” or “the more the merrier” or “maybe God can actually use this person in this situation.” Yes, we need to be careful not to hurt people’s feelings or be exclusive, etc. But, just welcoming the help without consideration and prayer–that’s just unwise.

In the case of the Israelites in Ezra 4, accepting this offer of help would have hurt their work. Obviously Satan was behind the deception there as he tried to oppose the work of rebuilding the temple. I’m not suggesting that Satan is behind every offer of help we get as we do our “Kingdom work” but, we should be careful. I know I want to be careful and take these situations to God.

January 29, 2008

etymotic rocks!

Filed under: cool companies, geeky stuff, kudos, music, soapbox — Tags: , — noisedoctor @ 5:34 pm

These days, I rarely run across great customer service–often decent customer service, but great service catches my attention. I thought I should give them some props here, for whatever that’s worth.

A little over a year ago (maybe longer, not sure), I got a set of the Etymotic ER-4 earphones as a gift from my previous employer for some extra work I did. They are really sweet. I used to travel every week on planes and trains, and these earphones were just amazing at blocking out the noise. Their sound quality is nothing short of amazing as well–and was thisclose to having a PhD in acoustics. Once I stopped traveling and didn’t have a real need for these, I decided to use them while doing outdoor jobs: mowing grass, chainsawing, chipping wood, etc. They cut out more noise than my custom-made ear plugs and over-the-ear muffs combined–and I could listen to music with only 1 click above what I’d listen without the noise-generating device nearby, again, with amazing quality–I used to pick out things from some songs while mowing grass that I had never noticed on my home or car stereo before. Okay, enough raving.

Well, at the end of this past summer, the sound in the earphones started to cut in and out, like there was some sort of loose connection in the line. If I wiggled the wires (not at the plug or earphones), it would usually come back in. Eventually, I had to give up on listening to music, but since they blocked more noise than my other noise-suppression arsenal, I used them without any music.

A few weeks ago I finally got my tail in gear and sent them an e-mail to ask if they could be looked at. They quickly and professionally responded that the units have a 2 year warranty and gave me an RMA # and their address to mail them back. Not having any proof-of-purchase, I reluctantly mailed them in. I figured that I’d get a phone call or e-mail telling me they needed a repair and it would cost me handily to get back my prized earphones.

Oh, not so. I got a box in the mail today. Not my earphones, but a brand new set of the same model. There was a sheet from the company documenting their testing and confirmation of the problem with my earphones, and an invoice for $0.00.

Wow. You guys rock! I am so thrilled to have these earphones back and ecstatic to have them repaired/replaced for free–great customer service all the way around. It’s impressive to see a company stand behind their product like this these days. Kudos!

January 26, 2008

recent silly freecycle postings

Filed under: freecycle, humor, useless junk — noisedoctor @ 9:21 am

Here’s a trusting sole:

WANTED: storage space for motorcycle
I have a Suzuki 650 motorcycle that I need to get off the road for the
winter months. I prefer somewhere in [...] but will take
what I can get

This one was right before Christmas. I’m sure people have tons of these just lying around to give to people to cheap to spend a few bucks for their gag gifts:

WANTED: Athletic supporter (Jock Strap) new, please
Need athletic supporter as a gag gift for a holiday party!
New, please, but opened package is fine.
Will pick up within 5 miles of [...].
Thanks.

I guess this one out of the realm of possibility, but… how likely?

wanted: orlando theme park tickets
Does anyone have any leftover Disney, Universal, Seaworld tickets left
over from an orlando trip? Either admission or fastpass tickets would
be put to very good use by my 16, 15, 11 & 5 year olds. We will be
visiting family in Orlando and my kids would be thrilled to be able to
go to the theme parks. Thanks to anyone who can help!

God uses those who don’t even know Him

Filed under: Bible study — noisedoctor @ 8:50 am

I’m reading the book of Ezra. I know, not on everyone’s top 10 list from the Bible. Heck, not that long ago, I had the woefully misconceived notion that “Wasn’t Ezra a woman? It sounds like a woman’s name.” Having gotten my facts a little more in order, I thought I should read the book.

The first chapter begins thusly:

Ezra 1:1-4 (NIV)
1 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing:

2 “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:

‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. 3 Anyone of his people among you — may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the LORD, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem. 4 And the people of any place where survivors may now be living are to provide him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.'”

I found Matthew Henry’s commentary on these verses quite interesting (emphasis mine):

Whence this proclamation took its rise. The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus. Note, The hearts of kings are in the hand of the Lord, and, like the rivulets of water, he turneth them which way soever he will. It is said of Cyrus that he knew not God, nor how to serve him; but God knew him, and how to serve himself by him, Isa 45:4. God governs the world by his influence on the spirits of men, and, whatever good is done at any time, it is God that stirs up the spirit to do it, puts thoughts into the mind, gives to the understanding to form a right judgment, and directs the will which way he pleases. Whatever good offices therefore are, at any time, done for the church of God, he must have the glory of them.
(from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

This, of course, prompted me to look up Isaiah 45:4 (emphasis mine):

Isa 45:1-6 (NIV)
1 This is what the LORD says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: 2 I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. 3 I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places,so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. 4 For the sake of Jacob my servant, of Israel my chosen, I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not acknowledge me. 5 I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, 6 so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know there is none besides me. I am the LORD, and there is no other.

God said he would work through Cyrus, even though Cyrus didn’t know Him. And, it wasn’t just for some random “hey, I’m God, and I can do whatever I want” thing–it was another instance where God decided to act to show that He is indeed God.

I’m sitting here thinking how awesome that is. But I’m also thinking: God, I don’t want to make it so You have to act in spite of me, I want You to act through my submission to you–but all for Your glory, not mine.

where have i been?

Filed under: family, personal, pregnancy — noisedoctor @ 7:50 am

Nowhere really. I just haven’t felt like posting anything. Well, I’ve felt like it, I just haven’t had the motivation. I worked really hard at getting the nursery ready (hard because I’m such a perfectionist), all the new baby clothes washed and put away, and helping to take care of my wife who is now out of work and on bed rest. But for some reason I woke up at 5am today and couldn’t get back to sleep. So, I guess it’s time to do a little Bible Study and maybe post a couple random things before I start cleaning the house.

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