My Prayer for 2017

Source: http://blog.danilomazaia.com/oqueachei-haveitallbethel/

You do not know it yet, but the leading post image is a giant spoiler for what I want to briefly say: God, have it all.

The image above is a promotional image for the album Have It All by Bethel Music, titled after the track Have It All. If you have never heard the song, I recommend that you stop reading, listen to it, then resume reading.

2016 was a year of discovery. I discovered so many things and learned so much in it that, despite all the bad, I do not wish it never happened. A lot of things happened to me in 2016 and I grew in many areas, including my faith.

Last summer, I volunteered at a week-long Christian summer camp. It was my second year working it, so I knew how the week was planned and all that went on. As a staff member on the Media crew, I had the opportunity to be among the kids nearly all waking hours. I also helped in the worship services by running a live stream camera.

It was Wednesday afternoon. For this particular age group, services were at 2 PM. Soon after entering the sanctuary, somehow I knew in my spirit that something was going to happen, but more than that, I knew what was going to happen: in this service, there would be the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Before I continue, I need to say that I do not intend to start a religious discussion or debate about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the varying beliefs. I will also not engage in such talk. I am merely recounting my experience from the perspective of my beliefs. I would appreciate it you will refrain from starting or engaging in such discussion but focus on the main message. 🙂

Anyway, I knew that I knew that I knew that I knew that there would be baptism that afternoon. As the service progressed, I knew it even more. The speaker even spoke on the Holy Spirit and baptism. By the time the alter call was made, I was standing there, behind the camera, headset on, raising my hand and worshiping. Yet the only words that I could say was “My God, My God, You are my God.” This went on for about ten minutes. Suddenly, a sound rose from the front of the sanctuary, sweeping across the alter and filling the room. The baptism had been poured out. Instantly tears ran down my face as I continued to worship, but those were the only words I could say, still.

As I continued to worship, I reached the point that I took off my headset and knelt in prayer, still behind the camera. As I knelt, I began to weep, and the words stopped. I could say nothing. I did not know who was around or who might be watching, I did not care, I was worshiping. Suddenly, I began to speak. Yet the words I spoke, they were not from me. I spoke in my words, but I did not know what I was saying. The words just… appeared. It started quietly, but as they continued and I kept speaking, my volume grew. I finally was speaking in a slightly-louder than normal tone of voice. Anyone around could hear me. I still remember the words I was speaking.

Oh God, You are my God. I am nothing without You, I cannot do anything without You, my life has no purpose without You. I need You in my life. God, right now, I rededicate my life to You. Everything I am belongs to You. Take me and use me, fill me with your spirit, lead and guide me in Your perfect plan for my life. I am your servant. Put me in the places You need me to be. Add to my life what needs to be added, remove what needs to be removed, change what needs to be changed, so I may be the man You desire me to be. You are my God, and I worship You.

Suddenly, the words stopped. Just as quickly as they arrived, they went away. When they left, my tongue was loosed and I could speak freely, on my own accord, the words I wanted to pray. Still weeping, I manage to get off the platform and make my way to the front. I made a quick glance around to see the path, and while doing so, I saw kids and adults sitting around, all eyes on me. I did not care, I was worshiping. I made it to the front, stood off to the side, and continued to pray. After a few minutes, a group of girls encircled me and began to hug me. To this day I do not know who they were, it does not matter. When they did this, I felt peace in my Spirit. It was as if, though the girls, God was saying to me “My son, I have you. I am holding you. Stay in My word and seek Me and I will lead you where you need to go. I have you and will never let you go.”

Things have been different since that service. Since that service, I have been more sensitive to the Spirit and aware of God’s work in my life. I also have a strong desire for God in my life, a wish stronger than ever before. Time after time, I have prayed for more of His spirit, His power, His ever-present work to use me, mold me, form and fashion me into the man of God I am called to be. He has been slowly revealing His plan for my life, my place and role in the Kingdom. Many times God has spoken in response in my prayers, confirming the call and reassuring me of His plan for my life.

So when I heard Have It All for the first time a few months ago, it touched me. I love music. I believe music is powerful and can have a profound impact on a person. Have It All put into song what I had been praying for months.

You can have it all, Lord
Every part of my world
Take this life and breathe on
This heart that is now Yours

The events of my life in the last seven months have been filled with spiritual blessings and growth like I never imagined, and it has been dominated by one thing, one concept: Have It All.

Christians the world over need more of God. Even those strong in the faith, who have served God for years and seen a lot, will tell you that even they need more of Him in their lives. 2016, especially the second half, taught me and showed me more than ever that I need God, I need Him like I never have before. That is why, for 2017, my prayer is Have It All. But not just for me, but for all Christians. In 2017, may we seek God more earnestly. May we serve Him more fully and truly, may we live our lives in such a way that He can use us however He sees fit. May we surrender our lives to Him more fully than ever before. May we pray and worship on a new level. May we spread the Gospel more than ever before. May the Holy Spirit have full reign in our lives. God, have it all.

May my life always please You.
May it always honor You.
May I decrease in myself so You can increase in Me.
Use me in Your Kingdom, fill me with Your spirit.
In my life, O God, have it all.
With my whole heart,
With all within me,
May I always serve You.

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The Foolishness Section

A prudent man conceals knowledge,
But the heart of fools proclaims foolishness.

We hear it all the time: “Do not read the comments section! They are a mire of illogical nonsense!” For the most part, that is true. The craziness of the comments section on any sort of website, from news article to YouTube video, has gotten so bad a lot of sites have begun hiding them under a button or text the visitor must click to load the comments. Other sites re-brand comments or have separate “moderated” and “unapproved” comment threads, while a select few go as far as totally disabling comments. No matter the case, the comments section can be a cesspool of ignorance and confusion.

As I said earlier, for the most part, comment sections are bad. That means there are predominantly good comment sections somewhere. I have seen both types. While even in the good sections there are the “typical” comments we all hate, the majority are logically sound and sane. I was pondering why the comments section have become so repulsive to many people and how we could use the good sections to create a resolution.

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A programmer’s nit-picks

Programmers are notoriously nit-picky. We have opinions, stances, and preferences on just about everything and tend to get into frivolous (and often heated) arguments and discussions about our nit-picks. Compiled language vs. interpreted language? Nit-pick! Tabs vs. spaces? Nit-pick! Braces on same line or new line? Nit-pick!!!

In fact, programmers are so passionately nit-picky we invented a process to force our nit-pickyness onto others when they contribute code to our open source projects: code reviews! We even prefix some of our comments with “Nit:” for emphasis! (Do understand I am using hyperbole here. Code reviews are a good thing and I am grateful for them.)

Lately I have been reading the book RailsSpace (1st edition website) to expose myself to the Ruby programming language, Ruby on Rails, and MVC. I am not actually running any of the code, simply reading the book, code and all. It has been rather interesting and I may have to write a post on the experience when I finish it.

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Experiencing technical debt

In many metrics, I am young. I am 21 years old and fresh out of technical college with my A.A.S in website development. I am young in world and workplace experience as well as wisdom. I physically look young. I am told I look, on average, approximately two years younger than my current age (this has been going on for at least four years now). I am a young programmer, having only been a part of the world of code for three years. My coding style, abilities, and knowledge is limited. I am young.

However, though I may be young, in many ways I am not young. I have coding knowledge that earned me the nickname of a reference guide among my internet friends. I have coding abilities that, even as a one year programmer, impressed a then-four year programmer.

I have also seen with my young eyes sights often only experienced developers speak about. I have experienced within my limited experiences events only programmers of age understand. I have knowledge of things I probably did not need to know and sometimes wish I did not learn until later.

One of those things is technical debt.

Technical debt, in layman’s terms, is simply junk that exists in a system that should be cleaned up because it is a mess, is getting out of hand, and is giving you a headache but has yet to be dealt with. It may lie in the build pipeline, in code, in graphic creation, in documentation, in tools and workflow. Wherever it is, it is something that is not good and should be corrected to meet modern standards, guidelines, or ideals. Yet nobody has done anything about it for so long (for a variety of reasons) that the debt has become part of “it is just how things work around here.”

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Semantic HTML5 elements and the element

Talk about a confusing combination.

While working on my capstone early in the morning (something I should never do but keep doing it anyway) on 16 October, 2015,  I noticed the test <h1> headers I placed on a page were smaller than the <h2> elements and roughly the same size the <h3> headers! Despite not possessing complete clarity in thinking and logic, I decided to hunt down the culprit. Because the strange phenomenon was occurring in Firefox, Chrome, IE, and MS Edge as well as mobile browsers, I started the hunt by searching my site SCSS for something that could be causing it; perhaps I had written an overzealous selector. Though I surprisingly could not find any rogue styling, I was determined to find the cause. That was when I remembered something: I had dealt with certain headers being smaller than others a long time ago on a different project. I also remembered the culprits: the semantic elements newly introduced with HTML5 to help structure and layout a page (instead of using <div>s everywhere).

I quickly changed all instances of the new elements to “plain old” <div>s and reloaded the page. Suddenly, the faulty headers snapped back to their proper size. With the issue solved, I turned off my laptop and went to bed wondering what exactly was going on and what could be done to remedy it.

The next day I looked into the matter, whipping up a demo page to compute the font sizes of headers when contained in the various semantic elements and compare it to a div wrapper (as a baseline) and a semantic element nested in a semantic element. You can find the demo on CodePen. Throughout the rest of this admittedly more observational post, I will be frequently referring back to the demo as I discuss my findings, so keep that tab open! 😉

One thing I should note: I could be totally wrong about all of this. I am not an expert in any one topic or area. This is merely my deduction based on observations and experiments. If you do happen to be an expert and have an accurate explanation, feel free to state it and teach me a thing or two!

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2015 in review

Per annual tradition, it is time for the WordPress.com 2015 in review!

I am going to cut the chit-chat this year and say that 2015 has been a hard year in blogging for me. There have been so many topics I wanted to write on but never finished, was unable to do so (usually lack of time), or lacked the willpower. Further, I have gone through and deleted many of my older, pointless posts in order to refocus the blog and make it a tad more professional (that was one of the reasons behind choosing the current theme). If it seems as if the posts have been slower coming this year, they were. I personally am not happy with the slow schedule I have had, but it was what it was.

That being said, I think the posts I did publish were some of the best quality posts yet. I am pleased with how my posts turned out, especially the tracking cookie and ethics of selling open-source posts. I have slowly but surely been developing my style, perspective, and methodology for my posts, and this year has had the most “mature” form of those qualities yet. 🙂

In closing, I wish to thank you, my readers, for supporting this blog, occasionally commenting, putting up with the slowness, sharing with your friends/random people on the internet, and all the support requests. Though I might be slow to reply sometimes, your support means a lot to me. This outlet for my mind’s ramblings has meant a lot to me and it is because of you, for you, do I keep writing. Thank you so much. 🙂

Here is to the year that is 2016. May our lives be filled with much joy, surprises, good things, and less stress as we venture into the unknown and into a time “no man has gone before”.

God bless
-Caleb

Merry Christmas

Today is Christmas Day. All around the world people are visiting their family and enjoying spending the time with the ones they love. Children are excitedly opening presents, wondering what could be inside. Music is being played from the radio, CDs and digital devices. People are out feeding the homeless and providing cheer to the hopeless.

It is also the day Christians celebrate the second most holy day of the year: the birth of the incarnate Jesus Christ, when God came down to earth as a man to live with men so He may take away our sins and give us life eternal with God the Father by being crucified and rising from the dead three days later.

I do not make my faith hidden. I have stated many times I am a Christian and firmly believe in God. I may not mention my faith in every post but I do not shy away from making my faith known.

In Matthew 28:18-20, before ascending into Heaven, Jesus gave the following commandment called The Great Commission:

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