David Westerfield

Gospel. Culture. Technology. Music.

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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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Christ the King Sunday – A Prayer

“…with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” | Daniel 7:13-14

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Our Great High Priest and Advocate – A Prayer

Father, through Your Son, we have an advocate, a permanent high priest and King who sympathizes with our weaknesses and frailty and suffering; who Himself was made like us in every respect, experienced everything as we do, yet without sin. This great high priest Jesus stands for us at this moment, in His perfect righteousness in our place, and clothes us in His glory and splendor, having lived a perfect life, suffering the penalty of our death, and rising from the grave. Would You work a greater knowledge, a greater rest and love in Him and how He is the only One who covers all of our infirmities, who washes us from the crimson stain of sin, who provides a feast for our souls in the midst of our desert exile wandering.

Covered in His Royal Robe – A Prayer

Father, by Your unfathomable great love, You have counted our sins to Christ and counted His righteousness to us, and covered us as with a royal robe. You have marked us out in our baptism, set us apart, and given us a new name, a new identity. Lord too often in spite of what you have already accomplished in us and for us, we live as if we were still in the far country as a prodigal yet to return, pursuing that which only perishes and not searching out the treasures already given to us in Christ through the gospel. However Lord, may we also like the prodigal return back to You, empty handed, knowing You will richly clothe us yet again, washing us, and reminding us of the standing we have with You. We are not our own. You have bought us at an incredibly great price. Father, would you work a continual repentance into our hearts in our relationship with you and also into our lives with one another? Would we lay ourselves down in Your service, rooted in this unfathomable love and grace You’ve shown us, and would You work in us to extend that same selflessness in our relationships with our family members as well as our church body, and toward those outside our fellowship.

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