David Westerfield

Gospel. Culture. Technology.

Practicing the Fear of the Lord

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding.” | Psalm 111:10

What does it mean to “practice” the “fear of the Lord”? We know what practice means, there’s obviously something you’re intentionally giving yourself to here. There’s activity involved. And it’s repetitious. And what is the ultimate end of this repetitious activity? And what does it mean to fear the Lord in the first place?

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Resurrection Sunday – A Prayer

Lord this is the day! The day in which all the hopes of the saints from ages past were waiting for, the first fruits of resurrection life coming to pass. And yet this was the moment that people at that time didn’t see coming: that the crucified Messiah, who suffered and died in such a horrible manner, would rise in glorious triumph by the power of the Spirit over all His enemies: Satan, death, sin and hell. This is the moment, the great day in which Your glory burst forth to show in no uncertain terms, that You have won the victory, defeated death, defeated the work of Satan that began in the garden ages ago; that You in fact did conquer our sin, absorbing in Yourself our due penalty, taking it with You to the grave; It is Finished! This is the day that You did indeed crush Satan’s head along with all his works; and this is the moment that all of Your promises of resurrection life and new creation began. Lord because of our union with You by faith, we see in Your resurrection, our resurrection. Because we’re united to You, everything that is true of You is ours, and in this moment in particular we are raised with You both now and will be raised in fullness and completion on the Last Day. Your resurrection life is also our power over sin at the present time, in the already and the not yet in which we live. Through Your resurrection is also our justification, just as Your glory and righteousness and justice was vindicated and You were displayed to be the righteous King over all. Lord we worship You not just as a crucified King, but also as the great conquering, victorious, warrior, Savior, King who will rule the nations with an iron scepter at His second coming, who we will get to spend eternity with and even get to share in Your glory forever! You have risen indeed King Jesus!

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ERLC Releases Statement on Artificial Intelligence

https://erlc.com/resource-library/articles/why-we-need-a-statement-of-principles-for-artificial-intelligence

“For the first time in a long time, I believe that we can speak the words of truth into an issue that can have true and lasting effects on how tools like AI are developed and used in our world. The benefits of this technology are great, but the dangers are real. Just as electricity changed everything about our society, AI is due to change even more in a shorter period of time. We are entering a new age of AI where everything about your life and our communities will be different. The church has the unique opportunity and obligation to speak boldly to a watching word with a word of hope and peace that who you are is not tied to what you do, rather your dignity is tied to the One that created the entire world. No matter how advanced AI might become in the future or how dependent our society already is on the technology, nothing can change who you are as an image bearer of God. This guiding ethic drives everything we do as Christians and has life-altering applications to the issues that AI is presenting to our homes, communities, and world.”

His Glory Displayed – A Prayer

Lord Your glory is so obviously displayed and reflected in the power exhibited within creation. The floods lift up their roaring, the sea cries out Your name, the hills bear prosperity for all of us to enjoy, the lightning lights up the world so as to put on display your infinite power and knowledge. Yet Lord, your glory is displayed in its highest and surest regard in Your intentional pursuit and giving of Yourself to weakness resulting in unfathomable suffering. At the cross we see displayed what it took for you to make us Your own, what it took for our sins to be abolished, along with its due penalty: it took the God of the universe becoming nothing, taking the form of a bondservant, being nailed to a cross along with the record of debt that stood against us and bearing the curse due to us because of our lawlessness. Lord what kind of love is this that would move You to take regard of those who have betrayed your glory? And yet that is Your heart, to make rebels Your own children, to make us Your children. You were willing to be cut off from the land of the living that we might be brought in to paradise, to be cursed that we might be blessed, to be stripped of all that we might be clothed in your pure robe of righteousness. Lord help our unbelief. Heal our pride and our self-inflation by looking to that cross. Help our frail state and weakness, and would you shine forth in it to give us Your strength, the very strength of the Spirit that raised Christ from the dead. Would You give to us the gift of humbly walking in the reality of what we already are: Your justified, accepted, rejoiced-over children, and find our ultimate identity in this over the identities the world presses in and would have for us. Lord may we find our ultimate hope and joy and rejoicing in Your rejoicing over us.

Security Mashup: Four Steps to Secure WordPress

After working through a number of WordPress sites over the years and either preventing hack attempts or intervening in cleaning up hacked sites, I’ve “engineered” a free way to keep your site secure with the use of these plugins in conjunction:

  1. iQ Block Country: This plugin will prevent certain countries that you set from accessing either the front-end of your site, or (in the cases I use it for almost exclusively) the back-end. For the purposes of the sites I manage, I block all except the United States on the back-end and leave the front-end open to all.
  2. Jetpack: this is a great plugin to utilize anyway just for stats collection, image/CDN offloading, but included within this plugin is the ability to turn on brute force login protection. Another very helpful prevent if these other tools don’t catch something.
  3. WordFence: this free tool (that actually does have a subscription service for even better protection) is a web application firewall for use directly within WordPress. One of the big things it prevents are brute force login attacks, XSS attacks and SQL injection attacks, amongst others. Now, a web app firewall (like ModSecurity or some other hardware appliance like a Barricuda or Cisco firewall) in front of the application itself would work even better at preventing attacks before they even got to your WordPress site (if setup correctly), but can be quite advanced to install and configure. Regardless, this plugin is a great way to keep those kinds of attacks at bay.
  4. Invisible reCaptcha: this utilizes the newer version 3 of Google’s reCaptcha to prevent automated bots from either spamming the comment sections of your posts or pages or from brute force attempts to login to your site as admin.

None of these methods are fool proof from attacks getting through some other threat vector, but I’ve found this to catch quite a bit of junk on all the sites I’ve set them up on.

And one last thing: make sure and secure your site with SSL?!? 🙂

Linux to Windows Backups Using Rsync Over SSH

In the course of attempting to find a good, fast solution to running backups from my Linux server to my laptop for all the important stuff, I worked through the ability to run rsync on my Windows laptop using the cygwin environment, bash scripts and scheduling the backups to run in Task Scheduler. Here’s a run down of the steps I went through:

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Watching the BIND Query Log in Real-time

The following commands enable, follow in real-time and disable the querylog entries for when you’re trying to troubleshoot or watch the connection.

1. Enable: sudo rndc querylog
2. Follow: sudo journalctl -f
3. Disable: sudo rndc querylog

The Delight of the Father – A Prayer

Father you are a God who delights in revealing the beauty of your salvation to those who least deserve it. You are a God who delights in making Your name known and shining your face on those who have long been laid low in darkness. And as we’ll read in Jonah today Lord, you are a God who delights in relenting from disaster for those who call upon your name and turn from their sin to embrace You as their God and savior. In a myriad of ways Lord, all of us have lives that if you hadn’t intervened by Your Holy Spirit would have ended in disaster, both now and for eternity. But because of your steadfast love and faithfulness, and the kindness of Your heart toward us, you have set our feet upon a rock, and given us rest when we were weary and wandering in darkness. Father would we drink deeply of this grace that is poured out for us from your table of delights, and would we come to expect that in whatever good or difficulty comes to us from your hand, that we would know You are indeed for us and not against us.

Sanctity of Life Sunday – A Prayer

Father in Your wisdom and knowledge You formed us and shaped us into Your image and likeness, to reflect Your glory within the world. You knit us together in our mother’s wombs and we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Yet Lord, we consider this Sunday the plight of so many unborn, made in Your image, whose lives have been brought to end. Would you reverse this in our society, starting within our hearts Lord, to bring about compassion and life for the most helpless among us. And as a part this same compassion Lord would You also work in and through Your church to come alongside mothers in desperate situations, to provide care for them in such a way that they don’t even see this as an option.

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How Majestic Is Your Name – A Prayer

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens and when we gaze upon them, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what are we Lord that you are mindful of us? What are we that you care for us enough to condescend to us? You the King of kings becoming a Servant of servants?

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