Lessons Learned From Being Knocked Off the Internet, or How I Spent My Involuntary Vacation
First, let me thank all my faithful readers who have waited patiently while I put up this new website, got all new email set up and restored access to my blogs and social media. Although I posted several messages apiece on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ alerting everyone that my site and email were all down, it sure is good to be back! For all the rest, or who may be seeing one of my postings for the first time, my website fell victim to a particularly ferocious hack attack on the 10th of January. This hack evidently originated somewhere in Russia, and was apparently motivated by the fact that mine is an exclusively Christian website (never mind the ‘progressive’ part for the moment) and the hacking was done by purported atheists. At first it was absolutely maddening – I couldn’t log on to anything because all my passwords had been changed, and I had no way to change them back (can I get a witness?). But it didn’t take me long to figure out there was nothing I could do about it – the damage had already been done. Being a follower of Christ, I did not allow any of that to make me angry, although having a fit of rage did cross my mind.
That was over two weeks ago. After discovering that there was a chance the hackers had at least attempted to access my bank account, I was compelled to go down to my credit union, close out my checking account and open a new one in its place. Afterwards came a slow-as-molasses-in-January wait for my replacement debit card to arrive in the mail. Since I’m retired and on a fixed income, I have only one debit card and no credit cards (if I can’t afford to pay cash for it, I can’t afford it). That’s why I was forced to hold off on constructing my new website, since I had no way to pay for the new Web services I would need. But the new website you’re all looking at now is the end result of all the fuss and the trouble I have been through to get this ministry back to this point. At least it looks better than the old one, mainly due to the fact that the ‘app’ I’m using to build and power this site is far more sophisticated than my old one, which was from ‘Yahoo’. But there’s so much more to this than that. Let’s see what the Bible says about someone being attacked just because they’re Christian.
First, it says in Matthew chapter 5 and verses 11-12, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets that were before you.” Have I been insulted on line? I can’t even print some of the junk I have been told, mainly by Muslims and atheists but also by a surprising number (to me at least) of alleged “Christians” who condemn everybody who doesn’t believe what their little denominations believes in. This has been a problem within the greater Church since the days when the apostle Paul wrote what we now call First Corinthians chapter three, where he rightfully shamed the church at Corinth for conflicts over doctrine that were occurring at that time. What persons, living or otherwise, could be examples of Matt. 5:11-12 as I write this? The first and most obvious answer would be none other than Jesus Christ Himself, who was beaten and whipped unmercifully, and then shamed by his death by crucifixion, the ultimate death penalty. Jesus rejoiced and was glad in His Spirit when He was crucified – although He chose not to show it – and was buried, only to rise from the grave on the morning of the third day. Moreover, Jesus has received an eternal reward for his perfect fulfillment of Biblical prophecy by being seated at the right hand of his Father in heaven.
Another example I can think of is Rev. Dr. King, Jr. He was followed incessantly by FBI agents everywhere he went and hounded by the press for years, who hoped they could catch him in one kind of illicit behavior or another. But, even after all those years, they couldn’t pin a single thing on that man – nothing! So, they killed him instead. In much the same way the prophets of old were treated, such as the original 11 martyred apostles, and even the prophets of the Old Testament such as Isaiah, who was killed by being sawn in half. More Christians were martyred for their faith in the 20th century than were killed in the previous 19 centuries combined! Moreover, there are as many Christians who have been martyred for their faith in the 21st century up until today than were martyred in the entire 20th century. If this isn’t a ramping up in the Spirit towards the rapture of the Church, then I don’t know what is.
There was at least several, and likely more, of the original 11 apostles (or 12 if you count Paul) who also had something important to say about enduring personal attacks as well as attacks in the spirit. Consider the following quotes from James chapter 1, verses 4-5: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops persevereance. Persevereance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything”. And again it is written further down in verse 13: “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him”. Plus, let’s not forget that the apostle Paul taught that “God does not show favoritism” (or, ‘is no respecter of persons’ in the KJV). Everybody has to go through strongly negative experiences at some point in life, but it happens so God can build us up, not so He can tear us down. God never does that to anybody unless it’s a rebuke, but people can do it to themselves unawares.
So, from all that has happened here during the last couple of weeks, I have learned to feel blessed when faced with adversity, to praise God even when I am attacked, and to be at peace, even when surrounded by enemies. God has given me a lesson in perseverance, and I have evidently passed the test, although it wasn’t easy by a long shot. There were times when my patience were pushed to its very limits and beyond, but now I’m stronger because of it. Now I know more than ever that a crown of righteousness awaits me when my life here is over and I enter heaven, because I have endured the trials that have been set before me, and I will continue, with God’s help, to be made strong enough by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to endure any trial or trouble that may come my way. And, since I’m no smarter or better than anybody else, everyone who reads this can do the same.