Archive for February, 2011

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Monday, February 28th, 2011

ESV: Philippians 4:13.

This is a wonderful feeling. That there is nothing to fear, nothing is impossible – that whatever happens, whatever tomorrow brings – I am not afraid. Not because I have any strength in myself to face such things. Rather because I know that He does.

38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
ESV: Romans Chapter 8

Death holds no fear, for Christians can’t die — only sleep rather deeply while their body rots/burns away — and that holds no fear when you know that an alarm clock has been set that wakes even those who sleep so deeply — a trumpet that none can ignore.

What then can tomorrow bring?

… “but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
ESV: John 4:14.

So I can pour out from my heart never fearing that it might run dry because it is not my heart that is being poured from, not my love being drawn on, but rather the love of God which has no bounds.

Obviously the danger here is that though the spring never runs dry messed up broken people like me can’t have oceans flowing through us that fast as our time is finite and so is our desire to do so. However that is only where we are — not where we are going.

So: bring it. Come sunshine, come rain, come storm, come hurricane. Come good times, come bad times. Come death, come life, come good, come evil. Come beginnings and endings. Come despair, come persecution, beatings and prison. All those things and more besides hold no fear for God is more powerful than all of them and he does not change. They hold no fear for I know those who have faced them and come out praising. Those who have died, been beaten, raped, who sit on death row, who sweat locked in shipping containers in the noonday sun. They are only a couple of hops across the friendship graph and they face more than I ever expect to and they praise the God who remains faithful and gives them strength to carry on in the face of all of that.

So summary for those who are by now thoroughly confused: there is a hope in my heart stronger than life itself and a joy to which nothing compares. I have bad days, I have good days but joy does not depend on me (it depends on Him) and it is better than happiness. (the life of a Christian is a pretty awesome thing (this is not the same thing as being easy))

Apologies if this doesn’t make much sense. If you think me crazy then well, no change there then. ;-) It was on my heart and is one of the rather better things in there so count yourself lucky. :-)

Telling good news

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

This week the Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union (CICCU) is running a week of talks about the truth that sets you free having been to the first two talks I know that they are very good.

Frequently one finds that people don’t understand why someone would want to tell people about Jesus. Why do Christians do that? Isn’t faith a personal private thing?

Perhaps this answers that question: if the Christian message is true then it is the best news in the world – there has never been anything more important. If then someone believes that it is true how can they not tell people – what a horrible thing to do to someone – to not tell someone you care about something you believe to be so incredibly important. If you don’t understand that if it were true then it would be the most important news then you don’t understand Christianity.

However Christians are human and we mess up a lot. It doesn’t help people if the way we try and tell them about this wonderful news turns them off and makes them ignore it. It doesn’t help if people think that we want to tell them about Jesus out of some sort of legalism or rule following or because we think that makes us better people – it doesn’t. How can we not tell those we love about the person we love the most.

Apologies if this comes across poorly. I may be a coward but if you ask me a serious question then I will try to answer. If you want to find out more then the truth talks are very good as are the gospels in the bible and two ways to live is a good introduction.

tidy_vig: Automatically reformatting generated HTML into something cleaner

Friday, February 4th, 2011

As webmaster and secretary of various things I regularly need to upload minutes to websites and hence want to upload html files. While Open/LibreOffice’s export to html functionality works it doesn’t produce nice html. tidy is a useful tool for finding flaws in html and making it correct and nicer but it is not sufficient to accomplish this task on its own. Hence I have finally scriptified the various automatable parts of turning generated html into something publishable (this loses all style definitions so won’t look the same – use tidy_up if you want to avoid that).


set -e #bail if something goes wrong

tidy_up='tidy -indent -modify -clean -bare -asxml -utf8 -wrap 80 -access 3 --logical-emphasis yes'

$tidy_up $1 #Normalise to lowercase and remove most rubbish
$tidy_up $1
$tidy_up $1 #Repeat until stabalises - this happens third time
# Get sed to select the range of lines to apply the replacement on first.
# No I don't know what is going on here.
sed -i '/]*>/,/<\/style>/ {:ack N; /<\/style>/! b ack s/]*>.*<\/style>//g }' $1
sed -i 's/ class="[^"]*"//g' $1
sed -i 's/<\/*span>//g' $1
$tidy_up $1 #Reformat now that remaining cruft removed
sed -i 's/ class="[^"]*"//g' $1 #Remove any classes that got un-line breaked

Unfortunately there may still need to be some manual work if for example headers haven’t been specified as headers when the person who wrote the original file wrote it and so it may be that some sections might need conversion.

It is probably possible to do this in a cleaner more logical way and I have probably missed edge cases and this probably counts as being a little hacky however hopefully someone will find it useful.