Monthly Archives: April 2012

We are Doctors

Everybody knows that words hurt and encourage, but how can we take it to the spiritual level? Having legitimate interest and honest compassion for those around us is vastly important to be being a Christian. I’ll be the first to tell you, people aren’t going to be saved if you’re nasty to them. Allowing people to connect with God’s true love through us can be the first step in reaching out, and, for goodness’ sake, it’s what we’re called to do.

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18

One of the most important things to learn is how to control your words–to encourage especially. This is a key component of acting a “doctors”. Most physical violence starts with words, so we really need to watch our mouths. Our mouths are one of the most powerful weapons, meaning one of the most difficult to keep under control. We all need God to help control ourselves, specifically our mouths, and when we harness the power of our mouths for God’s kingdom, people can be healed. That is to say, people can be healed through God’s power. Never in the world is it anything we could ever do, but rather what God can do. Whether it’s a miracle that astonishes all, or simply building someone up in confidence and strength, our love and care for people can be a deciding factor in bringing the “lost sheep” of the world to Christ.

A real world doctor isn’t doing the healing. He (or she) is simply using the knowledge they have to help the patient. Healing with God’s power is the same.

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.  A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.  So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.  He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.  The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'” Luke 10:30-35

We should all have the compassion of the good Samaritan and really, honestly, earnestly, truly, seriously just care about each other. How many times a week, or even a day, do you pass by someone who needs help with something, or something which you could do to help someone out? (How many times do I?!) But healing spiritually is infinitely (as in, eternally) more important than physical healing (though obviously both are fantastic). With care and compassion, encouraging words and actions, and most importantly God in our heart, we can all be the next Daniel Hale Williams or Clara Barton, only a spiritual version, and in doing that can have even greater impact on the world.

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Windows 8 Gallery

The Verdict on Windows 8

It’s official. We are the 1,000,000th blog to talk about our ideas concerning Windows 8. The difference? We’ll bring you the very best bits of glorious geeky PC goodness that you want to know about the OS update. Where to begin? Metro is a hot topic  in the computer world today–if not the hot topic. The ideas about its success and shortcomings have come in quite the variety, too. Some of my own friends are not alone in saying that Windows 8 is the next Vista (in computer guru terms: an utter failure), and others say it will be as revolutionary to the computer industry as Windows 95. The GUI (graphical user interface) has been redone, but that’s not all. The internals have been given the same minimalist philosophy as the UI and revised for serious performance. This means we should see a little more bang for your processor, if you know what I mean. With Windows 8, your average junky netbook might not be limited to Windows 7 Starter anymore. Truth is, I’m using the Windows 8 Consumer Preview to right this post, and aside from one or two glitches to be expected in a beta, I’m impressed. But my opinion isn’t what counts, so let me get you up to speed. Microsoft recently announced that Windows 8 will come in four SKUs (or versions):

  • Windows 8, the package for the common consumer and their PC.
  • Windows 8 Pro, for those who want those extra features like file encryption, and the ability to host with the new Remote Desktop feature.
  • Windows 8 Enterprise, yes, only available to enterprises, is Windows 8 Pro with a few extra IT security and network management features.
  • Windows RT, short for Windows Runtime, refers to the new ability to, in short, run all your Windows 8, non-x86 apps, with a tablet-friendly, though still feature-rich, version of Windows.

The most significant difference between these versions is the architecture difference. Windows 8, 8 Pro, and 8 Enterprise are all based on the traditional x86 software architecture, while Windows RT is made for ARM, so it will be better for tablets. (Many call Windows RT “WOA”, short for Windows on ARM.)

What does this mean for the consumer? Microsoft’s goal is to make the answer to that question “not much”. The idea is that the experience of Windows 8 is constant between all the different devices and places which the new interface is seen and used. Problem is, this interface is completely new in the PC world, and to most people, the new Metro design is foreign. Aside from those using Windows Phone 7, Metro is a whole new design language to learn. Nonetheless, the world will learn all this fast if it gets in the hands as many people as have Windows 7 now. As for the SKU titles, the average Joe doesn’t need to know the difference, and Windows RT will likely be marketed as simply as Windows on a tablet.

One of the main concerns is the customizability of the OS. (No, I don’t think that’s a word.) While the traditional “Desktop” may be customized traditionally, the main Start screen is limited to a few designs and 9 colors. Three combinations are shown below.

Does this look customizable to you?

Another burning question is what Windows 8 means for enterprise. With a specialized SKU of the OS, Windows 8 Enterprise, Microsoft is obviously serving to the needs of the businesses of the world. Jeffrey Sutherland for the Building Windows 8 MSDN blog recently described plans for allowing non-company computers (buy-your-own, or BYO) to easily access a company’s programs and resources via a WOA management client (check it out at http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2012/04/19/managing-quot-byo-quot-pcs-in-the-enterprise-including-woa.aspx). This means a company could allow employees to connect securely to an infrastructure of tools to work cooperatively, or a hospital could allow patients to log in and access apps or resources, such as a survey. (Yes, that was all you, Lowdermilks on the Metro Developer Show.) It’s features like these that could really make tablets on Windows 8 beneficial to business.

The revamp of the OS is significant, and it’s going to take a while for many to familiarize themselves and adapt, but in the end, I personally believe that the new graphics-focused UI, and the effort Microsoft is making to make Windows modern, will pay off. That’s my verdict.

 

via MSDN, the Metro Developer Show

You’ll probably also want to see our Windows 8 gallery.

Download the Windows 8 Consumer Preview

We Are Treasure Hunters

Who wouldn’t want to be a treasure hunter? Of course, in saying that, I’m reminded of two things: Indiana Jones, and that episode from “Psych” where Shawn is following his Uncle Jack’s treasure map. Either way, being a treasure hunter is awesome, and we all know it. It involves modern greed, ancient secrets, plots and mischief of all time periods, danger, and the thrill of the hunt (and being hunted, too). But how does being a Christian add up to that? It’s not quite that literal.

In our walk with God, there is treasure to be found that is more incredible to discover than anything that Indiana Jones ever uncovered. This treasure is treasure which has the power to change our lives for all eternity. But we’ll get to that in a minute.

First we need to know a little about just how important this treasure is. Just because it’s not the lost whatchamacallit of the South American Amazon doesn’t mean it’s not worth searching for.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.”” Matthew 13:44-45

Have you ever seen something that you wanted to just sell everything you owned to buy it? Or have you ever wanted to do something so badly, you almost wanted to give up and drop everything else to do it? The people in these two short parables did just that. They knew what was really valuable.

Yes, now I’m going to pull out the story of the rich young man and tell you to sell everything you have. And then I’ll try to stop being too sarcastic with you, because that’s not what I’m saying at all. What I’m talking about is spiritual. This is something that comes straight from God. When we find true inspiration, love, wisdom, hope, peace, and prosperity that the Lord offers us freely, then we have found the greatest treasure of all.

The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness. He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.” Isaiah 33:5-6

This treasure in the Lord is so great that it will change your life forever. The following verse from 1 Timothy says the treasure God gives us enables us to “take hold of the life that is truly life.” This treasure is a couple of things. It’s eternal, and in a number of verses, we are told that riches are stored up in heaven for us. (While that seems far away, God’s gifts will be better enjoyed eternally than just for our short lives! See 1 Peter 1:4 in context) Also, God’s treasure is all the things that we are blessed with by him, and enrich our lives to make them something they never could have been without him. Then, we’re truly living.

Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” 1 Timothy 6:18-19

Many treasure hunters in the Hollywood titles think that true life is fame, riches, women, or perhaps other selfish gain. But we’re searching, seriously, for the treasure that lets us take hold of the life that is truly life. Dictionary.com’s 4th definition of “life” is this: “4. a corresponding state, existence, or principle of existence conceived of as belonging to the soul” . Most people’s existence is, for lack of a better term, existential. God wants our lives to be so much more.

I want to wrap this one up by saying briefly how to search for this everlasting treasure, because by now I know you’re interested. To find God’s treasure,  you have to find God. Pray and pour out your heart, listen to his heart for you. Pursue the Lord in your life, every day, and every hour–and seek out the treasure of true life.

We Are Lovers [Of Everyone]

I know a pastor who sums this one up really well. He always says that you don’t have to like everyone, but you have to love them. And that’s what this is all about.

It came right from Jesus’ very words. When he spoke to the British courts, he said himself, “Love thy enemy,”. Sorry, I missed April Fool’s day this year and have been bitter about it ever since. Just wait until next year. Ok, back to the topic with a longer reading for you:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”” Matthew 5:43-48

Basically, Jesus is telling us that it doesn’t mean anything just to love like the world loves, as we see we with the tax collector explanation. We have to love like the Father, or “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” The Lord loves all. He “causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good” meaning he gives everyone the same chance, loving them the same. God loves everyone equally, and we’re supposed to love like the Father, right?

We’ve all heard about God’s love. If there’s any aspect of God that gets advertised all the time, it’s his unending love. As receivers of that love, we need to not only love those who love us, but every last person on the face of the earth. You may not ‘like’ them, sure. You may not be their best friend. But you can still have love and respect for them through Christ.

We Are Rejoicers

Ok, so maybe ‘rejoicers’ isn’t a word. But it perfectly describes what we’re supposed to be. After all, we were given the gift of redemption, so that we have everything to be thankful for. So it’s ok to make up words if they’re good, right? I guess that’s today’s philosophy…

Blessed as we are, how could we forget just how amazing our lives are? Maybe they don’t look so good on the outside, or maybe they do. But either way, when we have Christ in our hearts, we are better off inside, and nothing outside can change the security and hope we have from that. So what are we doing moping about our horrible, depressing lives? We ought to be rejoicing!

Ok, so maybe that was a bit extreme. I don’t recommend going to anyone’s funeral and dancing and singing, because you’ll probably get spat at and maybe even arrested. But on a day-to-day basis we have to avoid just sitting back and enjoying (or maybe enduring) the ride. We have to passionately worship him who sets us free in every way we can!

He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.” ” Revelation 14:7

In case you’re freaking out right now, no the hour of judgement hasn’t come yet–this is a prophecy, so it hasn’t happened yet. The point is, we need to worship God and rejoice in him for all the things he’s done. whether it’s how he transformed your life, gave you hope, or made all that was and is and ever will be.

He turned the sea into dry land,  they passed through the waters on foot—  come, let us rejoice in him.” Psalm 66:6

God has done amazing things deserving of our praise. But as we all should know the biggest and most amazing thing of all is the very event we just celebrated with Easter. God gave his son to die. He died and by his death washed away our sins, so we could have eternal life in heaven. That’s why we should rejoice.

Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” Romans 5:11

So if you haven’t gotten the picture yet, there is so much reason to rejoice. I might have quoted a lot of scripture today, but you can never quote too much scripture. So here’s a great one from Philippians:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4

I will note that it’s easy to not feel like rejoicing. That’s why rejoicing takes effort, and we can only rejoice in him when we have found reconciliation to God, and are secure in our heart.

We Are Defenders

On Tuesday, we started our April “We Are” series with a bang. Ok, so it wasn’t much of a bang, but we were talking about being soldiers in Christ. Today, I’ll expand on something I briefly mentioned in that post: defending the faith.

Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” Mark 16:20

This is a scripture that’s easy to overlook. But it has a key phrase (in bold) which really made this stand out. The disciples didn’t just go around and follow God, but when the word was in question, when there was unbelief, they basically showed up the doubters. They confirmed the truth in God’s word, and they confirmed God’s presence, showing how he is here and can become part of the reality of your life. As defenders, we don’t just tell people about Christ. We help them to know Christ, and to know he is real.

And now for the hard part. Whenever anyone who isn’t Christian comes across a Christian in any kind of debate, who usually wins? Many times atheists or agnostics may be better educated than the Christian they decide to challenge. We have to make sure that that’s not the case with us. Yes, quite literally, we have to defend Christ in an argument or debate. In our everyday conversation about anything, Christ should shine through. Our society is hostile to people standing up for the Lord–and that’s exactly what we have to do. This means any off-handed remark or full-on challenge, we have to be ready to take. Of course, we need to do this in a Christ-like manner as well, so keep your cool. Nevertheless, we are supposed to confirm his word and to show that truth is only in God.

…for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.” Philippians 1:7

Though the verse below doesn’t entirely have to do with what we’re talking about, it mentions “defending and confirming the gospel” right beside each other. That’s because in our walk, defending should look just like confirming God’s word.

Ultrabooks vs. Macbook Air

Apparently, it takes a bunch of companies, a load of manpower, and a number of specially designed laptops to just begin to rival the Macbook Air. But is it even a rivalry yet?

We were promised last year by Intel that ultrabooks would be a significant portion of the PC market, but we haven’t quite seen that come to pass yet. That said, there have been a number of ultrabooks which are notable. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the ultrabook lineup was created to combat the new computer niche started by the Macbook Air, a niche no one knew they needed until Apple’s precedent. Of all the ultrabook we’ve seen and waited for in the last months, only a few have impressed enough to be a viable alternative to the Air. The main point that companies can beat Apple on is price, so it’s key that the manufacturers can get customers the biggest bang for their buck.

Below is a thorough comparison of the features and factors which come into play with the Macbook Air and the ultrabook competitors. See if you think the offerings of Sony, HP, Asus, and Samsung can stand up to Apple’s.

We Are Soldiers

Some of the imagery I like to use can involve something along the lines of battles or wars. It’s important to look at our lives in these new ways, because it gives us perspective in who we are and what we’re doing. Among all the things we are, those of us not occupied in the military don’t generally consider ourselves soldiers, but–you guessed it–we are the empowered defenders of Christ’s name.

Most people will be familiar with the characteristic Roman armor poster they probably had in their Sunday school class, displaying the Armor of God. Google image search for ‘armor of God’ and you’ll see what I mean. But believe it or not, there’s a little more behind the whole illustration than we think.

First of all, if not for Sunday school classes and VBSs worldwide, why was this famous passage in Ephesians even written? Well, the answer to that one is pretty easy if you read the passage.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” Ephesians 6:10

The author, or rather, writer, of the book Ephesians, the apostle Paul, wanted us to know something. He wanted us to understand the power of Christ when applied to our lives. We are shown how, when virtues of our faith are used, God will bring us the strength we need.

It’s a bit of a reverse proof here, but this imagery of armor tells us exactly what we need to understand the empowered nature of serving Christ. Paul understood that ordinary people can understand concepts like a shield or a sword and their purposes, so why not use that prior knowledge to explain how we are empowered by our faith? The concept is simply that we must, by our righteousness, faithfulness, understanding, and readiness, be prepared to fight for God’s kingdom.

It’s a more fun way of saying the exact same thing. Follow God; fight for God. We have to be soldiers in defense of the kingdom, protecting the weak, the hungry, and the helpless, and preventing the world from blotting out the truth.

So don’t be afraid, oh fearless soldier. You’ve been given the armor, and that’s all you need to start fighting back. Get started by reading more about the armor of God.

(It is important to note, though, that the whole ‘fighting the world’ thing is not to be taken literally, especially not in physical violence–at least, not in most cases.)

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