Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

A lot of people send out Christmas letters about what their family updates. Since I hate sending out letters (which is why I still haven’t sent in my mail-in-rebate for my phone) and I’m a geek, I’ll write a blog about the year.

The biggest news of the year is that we have a beautiful and healthy baby boy!

Malikai Jadon Zenor, born in December of 2006. He is now just over a year old and doing great. He is learning to walk on his own pretty well, and getting into almost everything. He knows how to climb steps, and I’ve gone through a lot of trouble trying to keep him off the stairs. Health wise, he hasn’t gotten sick at all, and his height and weight chart is above average, so everything is perfect with him.

The events surrounding Malikai’s birth were hectic and not the most fun. Danae went into labor during a blizzard, had to have the Army pick us up in a hummer and take us to the ambulance. That was a lot of fun, if only I had a picture of it. After Danae went through 2 1/2 hours of pushing Malikai was finally born. We had our family come out to visit and everyone got trapped in our house by another blizzard. That always causes stress and tension, a 1,080 square foot home with 10 people trapped inside for a few days.

Danae didn’t have much fun either, she had Mono and Postpardum Depression at the same time, which made things quite hard. Because of all of that, DHS had to get involved. All in all, the beginning of the year was full of doctors appointments, court dates, and a bunch of other junk that we really didn’t need at the time. Even several months after all of that was over with, we still got threatened with more legal action. Thankfully, I think we are passed all such actions. I really think none of it had to happen in the first place. When it all ended, we had the doctors, a therapist, the DHS case workers, and another court appointed family person all said that Danae and I both were taking great care of Malikai and all this junk shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, but this entire year has been full of extra stress and hassels, things that cost us extra money. But, we have a healthy baby boy, and for that we rejoice.

This year Danae and I have been searching for ways to witness to people online. This has been an interesting way to use our abilities (and addictions). There have been a few people online that we have brought back to the Bible, or just brought one step closer to following Christ. We have had our arguments with atheist, and sometimes we lose hope when not too many people show up to online Bible studies, but we just have to remember, no matter how it looks, we don’t know how God is going to use us.

I have also started school this year, taking online courses at Calvary Chapel Bible College. I just started my second course, only 32 more to go! So far I am learning a lot of really interesting stuff, but for now I just need to get going on this “textbook evaluation paper”. It has to be 5-7 pages and I’m having trouble nailing down the main points of the book, there were so many good ones, it’s hard to tell what the main one is. This first class requires me to do some work in the church, so I have been helping in the kitchen and nursery mostly. It has been a lot of fun, and even though it takes a lot of time I’m really glad that I get to do it.

Now that Christmas is almost here, we got the Christmas tree up. We didn’t put up outside lights just because I have been tired, working long hours, and even on my nights off I have been dead tired. But I did took the time to put up the Christmas tree and decorate it real nice, but the cats promptly took care of that. Silly cats, climbing the tree at all hours of the night, unpugging the lights and batting down every ornament we had hanging. Next year I’ll have to try some training techniques that someone told me about for cats. That should solve the problem so we can have a nice tree up, until Malikai gets ahold of it. So we will just have to figure out how to train Malikai to stay away from it. I’m sure bright shining lights and ornaments will not tempt him to go for it…

Anyway, that’s it for this year. Only time will tell how next year turns out to be.

Merry Christmas everyone, and have a Happy New Year!

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Doing things God’s way

Ephesians 6:12 reveals to us that our battle is not against humans, but against the demons that use them. And this is a battle we see having been waged since antiquity.

Judges 7:16-22 Dividing the three hundred men into three companies, he placed trumpets and empty jars in the hands of all of them, with torches inside. 17 “Watch me,” he told them. “Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do. 18 When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, ‘For the LORD and for Gideon.’ ” 19 Gideon and the hundred men with him reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guard. They blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands. 20 The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!” 21 While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled. 22 When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the LORD caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords. The army fled to Beth Shittah toward Zererah as far as the border of Abel Meholah near Tabbath.

We see here in this passage in Judges that victory was not won by force (the Midianites were about 400 men for every 1 Israelite), but by faith in God. God could have allowed just Gideon to be victorious over all the Midianites, but He chose to allow 300 Israelites to share the victory with Gideon.

We will see that each of the “tools” God told the Israelites to use in this battle hold spiritual significance and can be applied to our lives today.

In ancient times, trumpets were used to unite the troops and prepare them for battle. The trumpets used in the passage here show us that God expects us as believers to unite against the forces of evil. We are to be one in Christ because only when we are divided, can satan truly have victory over us.

The clay pots can symbolize our bodies…many times in scripture we are referenced in terms of clay and clay pots. This shows how weak we truly are because although fired clay seems strong, if it drops it shatters. This shows how little we can truly rely on ourselves. So the clay pots represent our weaknesses and emphasizes our brokeness in Christ.

The torches inside the pots represent a fire inside our fragile, broken bodies. What fire do each of us Christians have living inside us? None other than the Holy Spirit. This example may even be prophetic of the fact that the Holy Spirit would live within believers, offering that strength, that fire within these fragile, weak bodies of ours.

Now back to the 300 Israelites. God could have chosen just Gideon to have victory over the Midianites…but if that had happened, then Gideon would have been the one claiming the victory, and he would have gotten the glory from the other Israelites. But God wanted to show us something here. For one, we know that the Israelites were vastly outnumbered (in Judges 7:1-6 we see God lowering the number of troops who would be facing the Midianites until they number 300). Now, according to our worldly standards, the odds of victory for the Israelites was completely impossible. But God doesnt work within the standards of this world. He chose this victory to prove the importance of having faith in Him; that we should learn to trust in God for His strength in battle, not our own.

When God’s people are united in Him, our victory and power over evil forces increases exponentially.

Many people wonder, why if God’s so powerful, why is He allowing satan to continue hounding us? Why if Christ declared victory over him…why is he still roaming the earth like a lion, seeking whom to devour? Why isn’t he completely done away with? Well, God is allowing the presence of satan in order to build a resistance in our lives…only by resistance can we truly grow spiritually. Only through resistance are we truly broken and learn to trust and put all our faith in Him and His strength.

Faith is not real until it is put to the test. Faith is not just knowing something, it is acting upon what we know. God wants us to not just know ABOUT Him….He wants us to KNOW Him.

Let me take a real life example…someone who’s trying to get their muscles stronger can’t accomplish that goal by say sitting on the couch watching an exercise program (though that would sort of be nice)…nor can their muscles strengthen by reading about exercise (although it would strain the eye muscles :P)…no in order to see physical results, you must actually DO the exercise. We need to tax our muscles beyond their comfort zone so that in a sense they’re injured…but when they heal, they heal in a way that the entire muscle becomes stronger than before the exercise which caused the damage.

So then, why is there still evil in this world? Because God is preparing for Himself a companion, tried and true…a companion worthy enough to spend eternity with Him. Do you know the church, being the bride of Christ, is in fact a warrior princess??

God is allowing satan to work so that through the resistance and struggles that are created in our lives, we can become more and more conformed into the image of Christ as we rely on Him in becoming victorious through each struggle.

In this story in Judges, we see that victory was won, not by using man’s way, but by using God’s way. And that serves as an example for us in our own lives…when we rely on our own way to overcome difficulties, we fail..but when we rely on God and seek His way to overcoming the trials in our lives, we not only experience victory, but we experience true spiritual growth….and only a mature tree can bear any fruit. As we grow, we begin to bear more and more good, spiritual fruit for the Lord.

One way we can gain victory is by digging into His Word. We should never treat the Word of God as a mere chant or incantation. We are victorious not when we can prove how often we can speak the words over and over again…or even how many Scripture passages we can quote….we are victorious only when the Word becomes our bread and butter.

Personal application of God’s Word is what gives us victory in spiritual warfare (not just the action of reading the Word and/or repeating it).

We cannot wage this spiritual warfare in our own wisdom and strength (for the Bible makes clear that man’s wisdom is utter foolishness…and the clay pots reveal that man’s strength is truly a facade)…victory goes only to those who look to the Lord. So keep your eyes upon Christ, do not give in to the temptation to fall back on your own strength or your own “wisdom”…look to Him and Him only and you will be victorious in all things.