"...and I will dwell in the House of the LORD forever!"

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Different Thanksgiving Experience

I pray everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday. Thanksgiving is a special time when everything seems right in the world. We might have recently lost loved ones. We might be struggling with finances. It might even seem like our health is weakening by the hour; but when we come together as family and friends, it’s easy to find multiple reasons to be thankful.

As usual, Thanksgiving was very busy for the Hawks. We clocked nearly 750 miles in four days visiting relatives and enjoying the holiday spread at each location (By the way, if you were wondering, big meals and long drives are a terrible combination). However, this year I had a different Thanksgiving experience.

Towards the end of the week, we spent time with Natalie’s family in Ranger, Texas at “Ma” and “Pa’s” farm outside of town. It was a true “country” Thanksgiving, very different than the “city” Thanksgivings I’ve experienced the previous 24 years, but equally as special. The weekend was filled with memories, but I will always remember Friday evening when over twenty relatives took time just to sing. We sang new songs and old songs; serious songs and fun songs. As a physical and spiritual family, we took time to thank God for being our God.

You might already share this tradition with your family, and if you do, I’m preaching to the choir; but if you don’t, I highly recommend making this a tradition. You know what it’s like to sing Sunday after Sunday during worship, but if you’ve never experienced singing in your home with loved ones, you’re really missing out on one of life’s greatest blessings.

“I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.” (Psalm 89: 1-2) One day, your family’s future generations will thank you.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Protecting Your Password

If you spend much time on the computer, you probably use passwords. Regardless if it’s online banking, shopping, or the all too famous “facebooking”, a secret code known as a “password” makes it possible. Chances are, most people will get “hacked” at least once in their lifetimes. Professional computer hackers will find all kinds of ways to crack the code; most of the time, so they can simply sell your password to other hackers for a handsome profit—I guess there really is such a thing as a “wholesale hacker”.

Here are a few tips from IT professionals on how to protect your password:

1) Forget the Dictionary (If your password can be found in the dictionary, you might as well not have one, because it’s too easy to guess.)

2) Never Use the Same Password Twice (If hackers can crack a code to one of your accounts, they can crack the code to several of your accounts.)

3) Jam On Your Keyboard (For sensitive accounts like bank accounts, randomly type in keys on the keyboard, hit the SHIFT and ALT keys, then copy the result into an encrypted, password-protected USB drive. Whatever that means!)

4) Ignore Security Questions (Questions like “What is your favorite color” or “What high school did you attend” have a limited amount of answers, or they can be found on the Internet.)

If you love to be on the computer, these tips are helpful; but as Christians, we have only one password that connects us to God, and that’s our heart. It defines our spiritual well-being and identity. Unfortunately, Satan does everything he can to crack that special code. That’s why the writer of Proverbs so appropriately writes, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)

On the computer, if your password is compromised and your account is hacked, you can always make another one. However, you only have one chance with your heart. Once it’s gone, it’s gone, and there’s no replacing it. Protect your password with everything you have. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6: 21)