Theoretically Hackable

I encountered this particular phrase as I attempted to do a download from a reasonably effective source.  They came out and made this simple statement.  I suppose it was done for legal issues.  It was “theoretically hackable.” (That word, “theoretically” cracks me up!)  But I understand what it means.

And I started to see something.  It was a thing of some sense.  I am most vulnerable to things that are beyond my control.  I’m pretty much accessible to the many different things that could and should take me apart.  I have to tell you, that I regularly buy cheap “netbooks” with this fully in mind.  In a way they are like “Bic lighters,” I use them over and over, for 1 or 2 years, and than I ditch them.  I have gotten more than $400 out of them, and it beats the $800 plus to keep them going as they should.  It’s “Bryan’s Rule of Good Computing #87.”

“Theoretical Hacking.”  There is so much theology that gets rolled up into this phrase.  It has the idea that you can be accessible to anyone that has just a special urge to make things rough on you.  “Theoretically” speaking they can possibly walk right in and wipe you out.   It’s a bit nebulous, I’m sure, but the threat is out there, and it can happen–to the best of us.

“Hacking” is a bad word.  It carries with it a trickery, or a deceitfulness.  It most certainly is a word we avoid, as it carries with it very substantial problems.  And yet, it has a deeply theological concept.  Deception has incredible issues.  To walk out on it is thin ice.  You never, ever realize what the next step will bring us.  It really comes down to a deception.

We struggle with deception.  Kind of a theological deception.  The idea of being taken in, tricked and then destroyed.   We are so trusting.  Few of us carry the 24/7 “on guard mechanism.”  We step out without the slightest sense of betrayal.  We become “lambs” for the slaughter.

Evil is such, that we can never really factor through it completely.  It folds on itself to dimensions we could never fathom.  We can’t really approach it, because it expands things so rapidly.  It is full of deceit.  To encounter it face-to-face is destructive in itself.  We must hope in the presence of God.  He is the only one who can dismantle it.  Our trust (in the face of such evil) is in Him.

Yes, we are “hackable.” We are in a deep place of vulnerability.  But I must tell you, this is not a bad place to be.  In a theological sense we are pretty much accessible.  We have an openess that places us in front of the dark evil.  From here we have nothing to say.  We can do nothing but to believe that we are immune from the darkness.  That someone has stepped in and altered us, in a way that will prohibit us from harassment.

More info at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker_(computer_security)

Exulting in Our Shadow

 

So that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.”

Acts 5:15-16, ESV

 

Astonishing!  It was Peter, who denied the Lord—three distinct and definite times. Since we are moving past Good Friday and our celebration of Easter, so we should rest for a moment and consider Peter, and think about this “rascal.”  He really isn’t magical, or a “miracle worker,” Peter, quite precisely is a definite loser.  The best you can say is that he is a displaced and “has-been”  fisherman, who hasn’t really got a good track-record.  He tries hard, but he always muddles it up.  He falls very short.

Peter’s shadow reveals the power of unconscious influence.  His shadow wasn’t magical or possessed a healing virtue.  In a deep sense we all influence people around us–for good, or for evil.  Our imprint on others is quite significant.  Our impact is quite noticable.  Watchman Nee in his book, “Release of the Spirit.”  Nee compared our influence to the “ring” we leave in the bathtub.  Everyone leaves his mark.  Looking at that we can understand (to a degree) what that particular person is really like.  But the reality is, we all leave behind some scum.

J.R. Miller relates this thought.  “There is a legend of a good man for whom was asked some new power. He chose that he might do a great deal of good and might not be aware of it. So it was ordered that when his shadow fell behind him, where he could not see it, it should have healing power, but when it fell before him, so that he could see it, it should have no such effect.”

We need to view this thing closer.  How exactly do we influence others?  What manner of people are we to acheive such attention?  Do we really deserve “the praise of men?”  Do we go as far as to exult  in our shadows?  If we really want to powerfully affect others, we have to be humble, perhaps even dismissive of the good that may follow behind us.  (It doesn’t belong to us.”)   When we become really conscious of our significance or sway, we are in mortal danger and risk spoiling everything.

The kingdom is not big enough for Jesus, and than us–who takes over the center stage?  There is a disturbing assumption that we are most significant.  We stack-up our blocks and create a facade of being quite exceptional people.  The reality is this–we are all very much like Peter, our lives belie what is truly real.  But our authenticity really is found in the “blood of Jesus,”  which covers our wickedness.  That dear one, is our “claim to fame.”  Essentially, due to the proportion of our pride, determines the glory that the Lord receives.  We often eliminate him from our consideration.  Your pride determines His glory, plain and simple.  So step up, who goes next?

Is it Finally Time to Yield?

 
Will you say, “Yes, Lord. I am Your servant. Take me, use me, spend me. Fulfill all Your holy, eternal purposes in and through my life, whatever the cost”?
 
 
I read a story about a radio exchange that took place some time ago between a U.S. Navy ship and Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland. The Canadians warned the Americans, “Please divert your course 15 degrees to the south to avoid a collision.”

The Americans responded, “Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the north to avoid a collision.”

The Canadians said, “Negative. You will have to divert your course 15 degrees to the south to avoid a collision.”

The Americans: “This is the captain of a U.S. Navy Ship. I say again, divert your course.”

“No. I say again, you divert your course.”

“This is the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln, the second largest ship in the United States Atlantic fleet. We are accompanied by three destroyers, three cruisers, and numerous support vessels. I demand that you change your course 15 degrees north. I say again, that is 15 degrees north or countermeasures will be undertaken to assure the safety of our ship.”

After brief moment of silence, the Canadians responded: “This is a lighthouse. It is your call.”

Sometimes we don’t like what God wants us to do, and we want Him to change course when, in reality, it is us who ought to change course.

We need to understand that God’s plans are better than ours. Having said that, it does not mean that they are always the easiest or even the most appealing at the moment. There are times when we are going through life that we might not like the plan of God. But God’s plans are always better for us in the long run. 

 
That area you have insisted on controlling, that part of you you’ve just stubbornly refused to yield, where you have insisted on things being your way – it’s time to drop your sword and raise your white flag. It’s time to surrender.
 
 

Your brother,

Bryan

Hoping for Something More than Depression

 (This article is part of the book: “HOPE: God’s Shelter in the Storm’s of Life.” You can download the book in PDF format here.)   

Is There Any Hope for Depression?

Yes, absolutely! There is hope for depression. Here is a simple, Biblical plan from the book of Philippians that will help you to live a happy, hope-filled life.  

1. Let Go Of The Past

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13, 14)

A good deal of depression is caused by worry. We worry about the past, and about potential things that can go wrong in the future. The Apostle Paul certainly had plenty in his past he could have worried about. He had persecuted Christians and blasphemed Jesus Christ. He was a wicked man before he was saved on the road to Damascus. Yet, Paul said, “…this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind…” Paul chose to forget the past. He saw Jesus Christ as his goal and He looked forward to Him. Did you fail at something yesterday? Why live your life today dwelling on it? Look forward to Jesus Christ and follow Him. Did you confess a sin to the Lord yesterday and receive forgiveness for it? Why bring it back up today? Every day, have a fresh start, forgetting the past and reaching forward to the future. The future for the Christian couldn’t be better. Our future is Jesus Christ!       

    2. Pray About The Future

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6, 7)

God’s peace passes all understanding. The Bible says that if we pray about everything, that “…the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” The phrase, “Be careful for nothing…” means, “Don’t worry about anything.” The way to keep from worrying and to have peace in your life is to pray about the situation. The peace of God will then keep, which means to “guard,” your heart. Just as a squadron of soldiers guards a military base from enemy attack, the peace of God will guard your heart from the attacks of worry and doubt. The words heart and mind in this verse are talking about your thoughts and emotions. The peace of God guards our thoughts and emotions in a way that passes all understanding. No one can understand why a Christian can have peace in the midst of the storms of life, but we can though Jesus Christ!

The reason the peace of God that passes understanding “…SHALL KEEP your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” is because, most of the time, our worry is about things that might happen in the future. “Shall” is a future word. So the peace of God looks into the future and guards our hearts and minds when we pray.

Incidentally, pray for what you want to happen. If you are facing bad circumstances in the future, pray for God to change things. “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Luke 11:9) If God doesn’t want to give you what you are asking for, He will change your mind and change your prayers. But, it is not wrong at all to pray for God to answer specific needs in your life. N othing will give you more hope than praying for the things that you want God to do for you, and seeing God respond to your prayers by doing exactly what you asked Him to do! “Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.” (James 4:2)

    3. Change Your Way Of Thinking About The Present

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” Philippians (4:8, 9)

Is the way you think causing you to be depressed? Change your thinking to BIBLICAL THINKING and it will cause you to have peace and contentment in your life. God outlines eight things here that we should think about. Let’s study them.  

The Word of God teaches that we should think about things that are:

(1) TRUE:  The Devil wants to fill your mind with lies. “God doesn’t love you. The Bible isn’t true. God won’t answer your prayer.” Don’t fill your mind with things that aren’t true. The best way to fill up your mind with truth is by reading and memorizing the Word of God. The Bible is truth. “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” (John 17:17) In order for us to properly reason and think through a situation, we have to think Biblically. Knowing the Bible means knowing what God thinks about the situations of life. That will help us to think right, and to make the right decisions.  

(2) HONEST: This has to do with the way we live our lives. We ought to live honorably. If you are doing things that you shouldn’t do, stop. If you are not doing something that you should be doing, start. For instance, if you are a Christian, you know that you should be attending church. If you are not doing that, it may lead you to feel guilty. Guilt, then leads to depression. The easiest way to get rid of such depression is to start going to church. Solomon said, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might…”  If it needs to be done, do it, and put everything that you’ve got into it! On the other hand, if you are committing some sort of sin, that can also lead to depression. Stop doing what you know you shouldn’t do. Do what you know you should. This will help you to feel better about life, and to not live in depression.  

(3) JUST: Just things are righteous. They are the things that  are right. If we dwell on everything that is wrong with the world, and all of the wrongs that people have done to us, it will rob us of our peace. Think about things that are just, that are right with the world and with people, rather than those that are wrong. It will make you into a happier person! 

It is good to note here that justice has never been better exemplified than by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. When Christ died for our sins, He was fulfilling the just demands of a holy God that sin be punished. Also, because He had no sin, Jesus was able to die for our sins, in our place, as our substitute. When a sinner believes in Jesus Christ as Savior, God declares him to be just, or righteous, not because of his own works, but because of his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. So, when we think about things that are just, we should meditate on the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and about the righteousness that God has given to us by grace, through our faith, in Him. 

Sometimes, when the Devil is beating you up, or you are beating yourself up thinking about what a sorry person you are, think of this. You are righteous in the sight of God. You have been declared, by the Lord Jesus Christ, to be just. God loves you so much, that He gave His Son to die and absorb the just punishment for your sins, the punishment that you deserve. That is true love!      

(4) PURE: Pure things are clean. Christians ought to fill their minds with purity, not with filth. What we read, watch and listen to reflects on how we think. We should fill our ears with clean music. We ought to fill our minds with clean literature. If you watch television, look at things that are clean. Many Christians spend their time wasting their brains with entertainment that isn’t fit for the hogs in the barnyard! Bad music and bad images lead to bad thinking. As my pastor often says, “Garbage in, garbage out. Righteousness in, righteousness out.” 

(5) LOVELY: Forgiveness is lovely. If you are holding a grudge, it will hold you, and you will destroy yourself with bitterness. If you are bitter towards someone, let it go for your own health and well-being. God commands us to forgive others, and to pray for our enemies. This is not only the right thing to do, but praying for your enemies will take a lot of tension out of your life and help you to be mentally healthy. 

Jesus Christ is lovely. Nothing is more lovely. Think on Christ, and it will lift you out of depression. I went to a restaurant to eat one time, and I was kind of depressed. The hymn, “Rock of Ages” started playing over the speaker system. I started thinking about Jesus Christ, and those thoughts brought me out of my depression. When Job went through all of his suffering, God did something very interesting. God got Job to look up, away from all that was going on around him. God started asking Job questions that led him to realize how powerful  and wise God is. At the end of this time of questioning, Job was a changed man, and God turned things around for him. When you are depressed, get your mind off of circumstances and onto the Lord Jesus Christ. He will lift you out of your depression!

The Word of God is lovely. Meditating on the Bible is the single best way to change your thinking. The Word of God says,  “ And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2) A lot of junk builds up in our minds during the day. We need these negative thoughts and attitudes emptied out. The Word of God transforms us by renewing our minds. As you read the Bible each day, it will cleans and renew your thoughts. The word, “renew” means to “renovate.” Have you ever seen an old house that has been renovated? That is what the Bible does to our minds. It sweeps away the sin and filthiness of the day and rebuilds our thought processes.   

(6) GOOD REPORT: We ought not to fill our minds with negativity and gossip. Choose to meditate on those things that have a good report, a good reputation. You can think about every negative aspect of a person until you grow to despise them. Pick out good things to think about. A critical, cynical attitude will help to make you into a grouch that no one wants to associate with! Think about good reports, not bad. “Good report” thinking will change your whole outlook on people and life.    

(7) ANY VIRTUE: These are things that are morally excellent. Any time that you find this characteristic in a person or a thing, think on it. The Apostle Paul certainly demonstrated this kind of moral excellency when he was on board a ship that was doomed to sink. He said,  “ Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.” (Acts 27:25) Do you ever feel like your life is sinking? Believe God! God will take care of you. He promises in His Word to do so. There is great virtue in believing God when things go wrong. Ultimately, most depression is caused by living a life of not believing God. God is in control and He will work things out for good. The Lord Jesus Christ loves you! He will do what He has promised in His Word. Live a life of unbelief, and you will be miserable. Live in faith, and you will be happy.  “Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.”    

(8) ANY PRAISE: We can spend our lives dwelling on every negative thing, or we can find things for which we can praise God. One of the easiest ways to be lifted out of depression is to think about all of the ways that God has blessed you. Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have food to eat? Do you have clothes to wear? Is God blessing you in other areas of your life? 

John Gill, one of England’s eminent Bible commentators wrote: “…think on these things: meditate upon them, revolve them in your minds, seriously consider them, and reason with yourselves about them, in order to put them into practice.” You don’t have to live a life of depression and emptiness. Change your thinking, and God will change your life. 

http://www.thenationsforchrist.com/articles/is_there_any_hope_for_depre.html