The Wii U

The Wii U, Nintendo’s new console. The Wii U is the start of the next generation of consoles. With it Nintendo finally brings H-D graphics to their console. It also introduces the Nintendo gamepad. This handy controller has a decent-size screen in the middle of it like a tablet, but that’s we’re comparisons end. The gamepad unlike a tablet has dual analog sticks, a directional pad, plenty of buttons, and a grip on the back with two trigger. It also serves as a remote control, like a Wii Remote. The Wii U will still use Wii controllers, but along with the gamepad. The gamepad generally controls a “special” character in a game, while the Wii controllers are regular characters in a multiplayer game. The Wii U itself looks much more like an Xbox 360 than a Wii. There is a very large line up of games for the Wii U, varying from Mario and Nintendo classics, to popular shooters and platformers of other consoles. The Wii U comes out this Christmas season and is definitely something to look forward to.

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Light-wise Living

Nothing I say can directly help you stop sinning. Nothing you do can either; no goals you set. Personal determination alone can’t win battles of heart, but a change of heart can.

There’s a reason Jesus comes into our hearts when we become Christians. To help us, to guide us, to be close to us. But mostly to change our hearts, through and through; to ready us to listen to and serve him.

Unlike the Israelites, we have more than just a big book of rules to read, and then be left to hope we can find the will to follow those rules. We have God as our strength and guidance, helping us to do the right things at the right time. Living a radical life starts with realizing the power and potential God has placed in you.

The apostle Paul is possibly the greatest Christian of all time. And, as he said himself, he wasn’t anything special. On the contrary, speaking in 1 Corinthians, Paul describes how he went in “weakness and fear”, something we all feel when faced with a challenge. That’s one of many reasons why I chose and love the following verse.

I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” 1 Corinthians 2:3-5

I wish that God gave us all step-by-step directions on how to live our lives, but everyone’s life is different–and so is God’s plan for it. That means we have to live ready, waiting, trusting, and the way to do that is in the light and truth of the Spirit. This classic proverb never grows old:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Olympic God

Around the world, millions of people are watching the Olympics and cheering for their nation. How does God feel, though? I’m sure God loves the Olympics; he probably loves watching them because people are getting together to show their skills in sports. And God gave them those skills. For a reason, too — to spread the Gospel.

The real question is how do they reach out to people? One: they have to be saved, of course. Two: since they are well known, they can speak to a lot of people and tell them about Christ; they have to take the opportunities they’ve been given. Three: they let the people decide what to believe.

Just today, United States sprinters Kellie Wells and Dawn Harper in the 100m repeatedly thanked God, saying he was good to NBC reporter Louis Johnson after the race, giving God the glory in a great example of this.

All Olympians have at least a few fanatics that will listen to the Olympian they love and adore; those fans can see the truth behind that Christian Olympian’s words. It’s important that we use the power that God has given us, like an interview on TV, to the benefit of his kingdom and glory.

We all know that there are people who want to challenge God, and Christian beliefs, it’s kind of pointless when God is all powerful. The Pharisees in the new testament kept challenging Jesus — and they kept losing.

 The Pharisees challenged him, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.”

 Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going.””      John 8: 13-14 

Those verses show that nothing can challenge God–no Olympian or religious leader. Nothing can challenge God’s power.

Also note that God can do any thing, and he gave the idea of any sport to the guy who created it, and the ability to do it as well. Even if a Christian athlete loses in the Olympics, it’s for God’s purposes, and we all know who wins in the end.

iPhone 5, Finally

The date is out that the iPhone 5 will be announced on September 12th. We’re looking at an entirely new phone this time, as we move away from the 4S, we are secretly relieved to not realize the horror of something along the lines of an iPhone 4SX. As usual, Apple isn’t set to disappoint. Surprisingly, it appears as if some reliable leaks have come out showing that the new iPhone (don’t worry, as far as we know, it’s not called that) will have some unforeseen and compelling new features.

The Short

This is the reader-friendly version of what we allegedly know about Apple’s next-gen phone:

  • taller, thinner, crisper screen even more gorgeous than Retina Display
  • new screen will be more efficient to improve battery life
  • new screen is as wide as the 4S screen, but taller so that movies and media can be viewed without black bars
  • front facing camera is now oddly centered
  • less black/white space for the button and camera areas on the front because of the long screen
  • Siri-enhancements
  • No built-in YouTube app

We also expect to see various hardware improvements, as well as LTE, but that’s currently not backed up by any strict evidence.

The Details

I’m not one for rumors, but I’ll give you the quick-take. It appears as if the parts supplier ETradeSupply has leaked photos, and a video, of a portion of the iPhone 5’s body, as well as the front glass panel. Japanese Mac website Macotakara has released detailed videos as well. While it’s not the whole phone, the details seem fully plausible. What we can gather is that the screen will move from the 4S’s 3:2 aspect ratio to a 16:9 ratio, the standard for widescreen movies, televisions, and more. This makes viewing any media in HD easier, especially when the screen’s pixel density is supposed to be far more impressive, as well.

The iPhone 4S has a retina display pixel density of 960 x 640, while the new iPhone will likely have a pixel density of WXGA 1280 x 720. I would be shocked to see it, but it is possible Apple will blow us all away and show us a 1600 x 900 resolution phone . Forbes writer Susan Kalla noted ETrade Supply’s claim that the new screen will allegedly use new LCD technology which allows for better battery life and, of course, a better screen. Anyway, it’s not set in stone yet, but of all the rumors so far, these appear the most believable.The back of the iPhone 5The front of the iPhone 5.

While it’s not backed up by evidence, let alone being confirmed, it’s only logical for Apple’s iPhone 5 to include LTE functionality as well as 1 GB of RAM. Various other hardware improvements are plausible, but these two seem like logical steps for the iDevice to keep up with the pack.

While the some of the above details may be uncertain (as Apple likes it), we are nearly certain that Apple’s iPhone 5 event will be on September 12th, and will most likely be for sale on September 21st.

Via: ZDNet, Forbes, Huffington Post, BGR, 9 to 5 Mac

Source: ETrade Supply Blog, Macotakara (Youtube)

Three Wise Guys

Sometimes life can get hot. Heated, I mean. Heavy, difficult–hard. And sometimes you have to walk through some seriously challenging things. But I don’t suppose you’ve ever walked through a gigantic bonfire.

The Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar made a giant gold statue of himself and made people worship it. The punishment for any person not worshiping the statue was being thrown into a huge, blazing furnace. Naturally, God really didn’t like that the king made a huge statue of himself. That, and he kind of had an entire kingdom which he gave himself all the credit for. The Israelites Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego all knew the right person to worship–rather than a giant gold statue–God. So what happened when they told that to Nebuchadnezzar?

 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”” Daniel 3:16-18 

The three men were thrown into the furnace and King Nebuchadnezzar ordered it to be seven times hotter than it originally was. In fact, it was hot enough to kill the soldiers that took them into the furnace, and those soldiers were some of the strongest of Nebuchadnezzar’s army, one of the biggest in the world. There were only three men in the furnace, but those present saw four men in the fire. Nebuchadnezzar said that the fourth man looked like a son of the gods (or the son of God), for he was actually Jesus. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego all walked out of the flames unscathed. Later King Nebuchadnezzar basically lived like an animal until he had humility enough to respect God, upon which he returned to Babylon.

We can all live through the fiery furnace of a sinful life if we turn to God just as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did. If they could walk through an actual fire, you can walk through a figurative one, right?

What about Sony?

This year at E3 there were many amazing games and hardware from Microsoft and Nintendo, but not Sony. Microsoft showed off it’s new smartglass, Nintendo gave more info on the Wii U, Sony showed us the Wonderbook. Sony was very lacking at E3 this year–actually they’ve been lacking for a while. Their last big achievement was releasing the Vita, and that release have been less than phenomenal.

The fact that they have not released any info on any new hardware is not helping their case, either. They only have a small list of good games, too. With Sony falling behind this is a good time for Nintendo to catch up and Microsoft to get ahead.

Bad Habits

There are a lot of people out there who may not be accustomed to living anywhere but a lie. Not just criminals or thieves, but ordinary people. And that’s the way the Israelites lived when they fell away from God.

The description God gives of Israel at the time of Jeremiah 9 is shows how the Israelites lived in their lie and their sin. He describes it as a place of deceit and lies (9:4-6), with people who act one way and are another way at heart. They live without honesty or truth–and so many people live their lives this way:

With his mouth each speaks cordially to his neighbor, but in his heart he sets a trap for him.” Jeremiah 9:8

Sound like you or someone you know? It’s easy to get caught up in this. God said, “…it is not by truth that they triumph in the Lord.” Living the lie means you’re not living in God’s truth. It means you’re denying him and living the way you see fit. But there’s always consequences.

I have a saying: “It’s not karma. It’s life.” The Israelites became like they were because of their own actions–because they weren’t following God’s plan. And how did that start? You don’t follow God’s commands in the little things, and it keeps getting bigger. It grows.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

Call it the inverse of the conditional, but Matthew 5:8 makes it clear that without a pure heart, you won’t see God. The tiniest sin can escalate to blind us from seeing God, and that’s exactly what happened to the Israelites.

That’s why, every time we sin, we need to remember God has redeemed our sins, and ask him for forgiveness and redemption for our actions, so our heart will be pure. It is because of our sin that we blindly make mistakes that end up hurting ourselves.

Jeremiah 9:13 should have new meaning for you now. As God is talking about the terrible place that Israel is to live in, he says knowingly:

It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law.”

End those habits before they start. Ask for forgiveness, and ask that God will help you succeed next time.

Moving Forward

In the midst of difficult situations, tempting circumstances, and harsh conditions, even as Christians we often deal with our life scenarios just like any other average Joe might. So we’re talking about the non-average way, the right way, to deal with issues. Last week, we talked about the first step in dealing with difficulties, which is extremely important: accepting your circumstance. This week, it’s about the execution.
Even among hard times, God is always working in our lives and in the lives of others. He’s always looking out for us. You can trust that before God would ever put you into a time of difficulty, he would give you a way to get through it.
Simply as a testament to God’s constant intervention, I had a lot of things I was considering putting in this post, and was a bit confused, if not lost on the subject. Then, I went to Sunday church, and was intrigued to have a guest speaker speak on this exact subject, dealing with resolving difficult times in a Christ-like way.
I can’t help but use the same verse in his sermon, because it wonderfully depicts the wrong way and the right way of dealing with troubles.

In the Lord I take refuge. How then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to your mountain. For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart. When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?”” Psalm 11:1-3

David isn’t in an easy position, either. He’s under attack, literally or figuratively for his faith and for doing what he knows is right. Other people are telling him to flee from his enemies and run from his troubles, but he’s asking those others how they can ever suggest him to flee or run away when he takes refuge in the Lord. And so do we.
Because we are protected by God, we can trust him to help us through difficult circumstances, trusting him that we’ll come out all right. It’s critical that we move past our fear, and we don’t simply run and hide from the situation at hand. Rather, we have to get our hands dirty and face it: to move forward. When our foundations are being destroyed, the Lord is our solid rock and foundation. It’s a tough message, and a tough thing to do, and we only can succeed with God, but if you want to do things right, God’s way is the only way to go.

Accepting your Circumstance

I’m pretty much no good at Call of Duty: Black Ops. My friend would score in the top two of every game, and I would score in the bottom two every game. And every time, at the end of the round, I would say to myself, “Next time. Next time I’ll do better.” Then, when I wouldn’t and I would have the worst kill-death ratio of any, I would say, “Well, I got like 30 assists, then.” And my friend would subtly say, “Um, you had two…”

“Your own conduct and actions have brought this upon you. This is your punishment. How bitter it is! How it pierces to the heart!” Jeremiah 4:18

No, losing at a game isn’t punishment. But it is an example of a time we have to suck it up and accept the circumstances. For me, I’ll just have to live with the fact that I am never going to be a professional at first person shooters. For you, and for anyone, there are moments in our lives where the circumstances won’t be how we want them to be. Difficult circumstances, often.

The Israelites faced a similar situation, as they awaited doom. I’m sure many had their doubts as the prophet Jeremiah related to them the things which would happen to them, including being defeated by the Babylonians and exiled. And Jeremiah related the above line, from God, on the subject, and it’s so blatant that it’s too obvious to overlook.

Simply put, we have to take responsibility for things when they’re our fault. And when they’re not, but the situation couldn’t be changed, we still have to accept what’s happening and take it for the best. Accepting people, problems, and personal struggles we face will make it possible to deal with them in a Christ-like way.

Trust

Do you know what trust really means? The knowledge that you can depend on someone. Trust is a brutal thing because of its difficulty. You have to earn trust, as you probably know, and you probably also know that that’s not easy. You can’t go up to a stranger, tell them a secret, and be satisfied that your secret is safe. Restoring trust is even harder, though. You have to learn the nature of someone before you can trust them. And then, knowing who they are, you can decide to trust them.

Elijah took that to a whole new level. He trusted God no matter what, in 1 Kings 18: 36-39 Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal one man to four hundred fifty. He trusted in God so much that, through God’s power, he showed every one of those four hundred and fifty prophets up. Elijah knew God’s nature; he also knew God would come through and show his glory to Baal’s followers.

At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. 

When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!”” 1 Kings 18:36-39

Due to God’s awesome mercy, he will forgive us for not quite trusting Him the first time, and will reward us when we do trust him–completely.

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