We Paid Ransom32

We paid Ransom32, the virus malware that encrypts all your files and demands payment within a number of days to recover them, and we got our files back. Ish. From frantic googling, to panicked backup recovery attempts, to resignation and payment, here’s how it went down…

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James MacDonald on the Signs of the Times

James MacDonald, of Walk in the Word, interrupted his usual preaching series to spend the past two weeks on a study of current events and the prophecies of the bible concerning the last days. With all that’s gone on this year, the Oregon community college mass shooting, Russia in Syria, ISIS torturing and executing Christians and others, the Ebola outbreak of 2014 which is still ongoing in some countries in West Africa, famine and drought in Ethiopia, earthquakes in Chile and all around the world, and wars and conflict around the world, and every tragic, sorry we hear on the nightly news–this was a very timely series to remind Christians we should not only be living in view of a a good Christian life but also in view of the time we have left.

signs2
Click to watch the video
signs1
Click to watch the video

The important thing to remember about doom’s day predictions is not that it’s supposed to happen on a given day, but that it’s going to happen any day, at any moment. Live then as if you were out of time and up for account, so that in any day, in any moment, you have encouraged yourself to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” -mjg/12

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Silver Chair

Silver Chair,
how I hate you!
You’re always there, lurking,
at the end of every good thing!
(Stealing away every pleasure!)

Silver Chair,
how I hate your lies!
You tell me all this wasn’t,
while all the while I know it was! It was!
(You took it away!)

Temptation, come my way!
Lured and trapped,
sheep to the slaughter!

Silver Chair,
how I hate your words!
You speak to me of dos and donts,
but I know of your weels and your wonts!
(Cast it to the ground!)

Silver Chair,
how I hate your angles!
You make meaningless my pleasure
and you show me my measure!
(Burn bright to the ground!)

Temptation, come my way!
Lurid and tainted,
sheep to the slaughter!

Silver Chair,
trouble me no more!
You’re gone within minutes,
why should I care.
(Why do you care?)

Silver Chair,
how I hate what you show!
You show me what’s ugly…
you show me myself.
(Don’t show me myself.)

Temptation, come my way.
Bruised and broken,
sheep to the shear.

Silver Chair,
don’t leave me here!
You’re already gone,
you’ve left me alone.
(Don’t leave me alone.)

Silver Chair,
why did you go?
I want what you do.
Clarity. You do clarity.
(Clearly. You show me clearly.)

Temptation, go away.
Broken and beaten,
crushed underfoot.

Silver Chair,
you bring me clarity.
You put everything in its place.
All weights are set correct.
(Gravity sets all a’right.)

Silver Chair!
Reflector of my heart!
Don’t go!
You’re gone.
(I want to go with you.)

Temptation, get behind me!
Beaten and lost,
crushed under your foot!

Silver Chair,
you were never the thing were you?
You cleared the air, brought sanity to madness,
so I could find myself clearly.
(Clearly. So I could find You clearly.)

God,
have mercy on me,
a sinner!

 

My Recommended WordPress Themes and Plugins

After having used WordPress for a number of years, I’ve really started to get into more plugins that help me present and share my content the way I want. I’ve also gone through some themes and picked one I like, including versions for desktop and mobile. Here’s my recommendations for WordPress themes and plugins…

Themes

Twenty Eleven

twentyeleven2Twenty Eleven is still my WordPress theme of choice. It’s feature-full, clean, elegant, and problem free from my experience.

Please note it’s not actively updated so you may need to Google around for fixes. For example, I wrote a post on how to fix the featured image that is buggy in the default Twenty Eleven theme.

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God has spoken. What are you praying for?

I was reading Matthew 4 today and came across a fascinating perspective on Jesus’ response to Satan’s temptations. I’ll highlight the passage and follow it with Chuck Smith’s comment on it.

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718 Days of Bible Verses

Congratulations to those who haven’t muted me yet for sharing bible verses, you’re very kind and patient! ;) For the record, since August 2012 when I started, you’ve witnessed about 718 days of bible readings, 453 verses shared, 52 books of the bible cited, 3 books shared from every chapter (Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon), and 2 complete bible read-throughs (sometimes sequential, sometimes alternating OT/NT).

Why would I do this? Because I believe “the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) and I trust God when he says “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11).

These verses were shared primarily on Facebook and later ones simultaneously on Twitter (usually in shorter forms) on @Shovas .

Soli Deo Gloria

Without further adieu, 718 days of bible verses…

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You are loved

This phrase has stuck with me since I first heard a story, via James MacDonald’s Walk in the Word, about a man who doubted its sincerity and then found out just what it meant in action.

Harvest Bible Chapel in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, close each service, from what I understand, with the words “you are loved.” This simple phrase reflects profoundly the heart of God’s relationship with us and sums up the ministry of the Church. It succinctly focuses in on the basic human need to be loved. If we are to reach the world then we are to love them – really love them. As God loves us, we are to love.

I was pleasantly surprised to find Heather Williams’ You Are Loved from her album on iTunes just after her hit single Hallelujah. This is as close to the perfect musical complement to the sentiment we’re likely to get.

Awesome is a God word

I’m not sure who started this but there’s something to the admonition, that  I’ve been hearing from James MacDonald, to reserve the word “awesome” for God. It may seem like a petty thing, a legalistic thing, but I have to agree that, in this day and age, our language used about God is so anemic, so watered down that we can not help but apply the lesser feelings of that language to the actual character of God. So, I support reserving the word “awesome” for God. It’s been hard to catch myself from using it frivolously but I know habits can change. I’ll sign off with Exodus 15:11, “Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?”

Prayers and Promises

Did you know your prayers are already promised to you? Jesus says, in John 14:13-14, “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” Why, then, have we grown up, from childhood, with the belief that “all we can do is pray about it and leave it up to God,” as if this were some thing to do with a little shame and as a last resort?

Hebrews 4:16 reads, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” The King James reads “Let us therefore come boldly.” Jeremiah 32:27 reads, “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” Again, in Malachi 3:10, God says,  “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” Why, then, do we approach God in prayer as if we were troubling Him, pardoning our interruption, and begging for a meager sustenance of small things, as if small and large to us were of any consequence to God Almighty?

I know why we do this. We do this because we have rarely and perhaps never experienced  God’s answer to prayer for the things He seems to want us to pray for and about and to fully expect from Him.

We have never experienced the extent of God’s power, as it is written, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20) But not that only, “let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:6-8) And, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” (James 4:3)

God’s gift of prayer is not some weak kneed comfort. It is a voice with God Most High, your King, who has promised to act on your behalf,  and to comfort you, to strengthen you, to uphold you with His righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).

Selah.

Post-Script: I owe James MacDonald’s Walk in the Word podcast for sparking my interest on God’s promises and our prayers. The podcast, part of a series, was called Promise #1 – God Is Always With Me.

Post-Post-Script: You may find this further reading of value for more clarity: Why aren’t my prayers answered? I’m sure a google of the same question will yield great results.