A Purified Conscience from Dead Works through the Blood of Christ 

"For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God."
- Hebrews 9:13-14

Naturally, each one of us has been created with a sense of justice, a sense of what is right and wrong. Over time, our sinning can erode or sear our consciences so that we don't feel the effect or guilt of that sin anymore, thus becoming more and more enslaved to unrighteousness, serving the desires of our sinful souls, and as a result, we turn away increasingly from the living God. For the believer in Christ though, through His precious and infinitely valuable blood, our relationship to God has been restored in order that we may be drawn closer to Him and "glorify Him by enjoying Him forever." (Piper)

What I want to focus us on in particular is how our consciences are purified from dead works so that we can give glory and honor to God. Because each of us has a natural sense of right and wrong, when we see the areas of our lives where we fall short, we naturally feel unworthy to approach God of ourselves, and really we are unworthy. The payment we need to be able to approach God is infinitely high, beyond the price we are able to pay. All of our striving and working will account for nothing because we cannot make an infinite payment for the wrong we have committed against the Lord God. His glory is infinite, and in harming His glory with our sin, we have thus committed an infinite offense, worthy of infinite punishment. Therefore our consciences are weighed down by guilt. And eventually, when we see we can't make payment, we give up trying to pursue a right relationship with God and continue sinning, thus becoming more enslaved to sin than we were.

But in Christ, our consciences can be freed from our dead works that lead us to eternal damnation in order that we may be reconciled to God. How? In our natural state, as I said before, we cannot approach God, unless something or someone makes payment on our behalf, because we are not able to. And this is exactly what Christ has done for anyone who believes in Him and His sacrifice on the cross to bring about redemption. Because Christ is God who became man and lived a sinless life, He was qualified as the perfect sacrifice for sinners. He was qualified to make the infinite payment none of us could ever make to turn away the wrath of God. And this is exactly what He did on the cross. He died, rose again, and now sits at the right hand of God where He intercedes on behalf of those who trust Him for their salvation.

How does this purify the conscience of the believer from dead works to serve the living God? When we commit sin, our consciences constantly accuse us and point out that which is contrary to the standards God has set forth. We are weighed down with sin. It consumes us. But once you believe that Christ is the perfect sacrifice who intercedes on your behalf before God, and is in fact your very representative before the Father, this means that all of the wrong you have commited (with its due penalty, namely God's wrath) has been removed. If Christ has canceled the debt we owe God for our sin through the work performed in His life, death, and resurrection, then we are freed in our consciences to live lives without the burden of guilt! This is radically transforming when we can live without divine guilt weighing us down. And this is the Gospel, the very thing that distinguishes Christianity from all other religions, namely salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Christ already bore the load for anyone who would believe in Him for salvation. We have nothing more we can add to His perfect, finished work. How freeing it is to have Christ take on the punishment and guilt we have stored up for our sins, and then to gain His perfect obedience and righteousness before the Father in return! What a gift.

Because of Christ taking the guilt off our shoulders through faith in His blood, freeing our consciences from the weight of guilt, we are then (and only then) able to approach God in confidence, because what could be a better payment for us than the sacrifice of God's own Son on the cross? What amazing grace ...
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Worship Leader Eats Dirt ... This is Amazing and Painful 

Guys, don't forget about your capo ...

(Original Link)
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Spam Solution for my Mail Servers: Ban All Foreign IP Subnets 

This solution has been incredible for cutting down on the number of spam emails I receive. I would say based on the hits I get on my mail servers from spam bots, about 95% of the spam that attempts to hit my mail server comes from over-seas. I mean who am I going to contact in Belgium, South Korea, and Peru anyway? And if someone has to get a hold of me from over-seas, they can just go to https://www.westerfunk.net/contact/email/ and send me an email. In addition, most of the people I know who would contact me over-seas could just email me using an American-based email provider (e.g. Yahoo, Gmail, AOL, Hotmail, etc). So this solution has been awesome for my personal email setup. I do understand this won't work for larger organizations, but for those of you who run your own mail server and don't have foreign contacts, give it a whirl. Here are the foreign subnets I looked up and banned at the mail server level (based off of this info @ http://www.iana.org/assignments/ipv4-address-space):

41.0.0.0 - 41.255.255.255 (1 Subnet - Africa)
43.0.0.0 - 43.255.255.255 (1 Subnet - Japan)
58.0.0.0 - 62.255.255.255 (5 Subnets - Asia and Europe)
77.0.0.0 - 91.255.255.255 (15 Subnets - Europe)
121.0.0.0 - 126.255.255.255 (6 Subnets - Asia)
189.0.0.0 - 190.255.255.255 (2 Subnets - Latin America)
193.0.0.0 - 195.255.255.255 (3 Subnets - Asia and Europe)
200.0.0.0 - 203.255.255.255 (4 Subnets - Asia and Latin America)
210.0.0.0 - 213.255.255.255 (4 Subnets - Asia and Europe)
217.0.0.0 - 222.255.255.255 (6 Subnets - Asia and Europe)

This pretty much takes care of most foreign IP blocks. But you have to remember that these are country-registered IP blocks and may not cover every IP registered in a foreign country. Regardless, the only spam I have received up to this point has been from American IP's that are not blacklisted on the spam database filters (such as www.spamhaus.org). But even that has become rare now as it seems more people are reporting spam hits and from what IP it originated from.

Related Articles:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061127/ap_on_hi_te/eu_spam
http://today.reuters.com/news/articlene ... amp;rpc=22
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hMailServer - Best Open-Source Mail Server for Windows 

http://www.hmailserver.com/
This is by far one of the best mail servers I have come across for the price - free. Gotta love open-source. I set it up over the weekend as my new mail server, and I can't believe how efficient this thing is over against my old mailserver, ArgoSoft (which you have to pay for by the way). So I've dumped ArgoSoft for this. So far, the anti-spam tools in it work a lot better as well. Amazing stuff.



Also ... the web admin interface:

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Fort Worth Traffic Cams Now on Westerfunk.net 

Check it out ... TxDOT finally made their traffic cam images static, so now I have them listed on my site @ www.westerfunk.net/webcams/traffic. As of right now, they are up, but because of the nature of these cams (i.e. the random maintenance windows during the middle of the day the techs seem to impose) they may be unavailable at times. But nevertheless, it's a good quick way to check on traffic in the Fort Worth area. I'll be adding more in the near future ...
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AT&T Project Lightspeed Update 

http://www.lightreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=109292
I assume these writers obtained their information from legitimate sources, but regardless, it appears AT&T's new FFTN (Fiber to the Node) service may be rolling out within the area here before years end. Actually, I'll give some inside info I found out about recently as well: I was working on getting an internet connection setup and secured for someone I know and I logged into their DSL modem and the down speed cap said 6008 mbps down / 768 up. The maximum possible on the download was 7400 mbps. And they weren't really close to the phone company's CO which makes me think it is turned on already (they also possess the newest 2wire modem). Regardless, they're getting ready to roll out an awesome service that should be pretty stable and fast. I'm excited!

Also:

http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/79320
http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/79450
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Ahmadinejad: Iran Willing to Talk If U.S. 'Corrects Behavior' (AP) 

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,229311,00.html
Are we this naive, that we would take the bait? Recently in the news we find out that a Chinese submarine was following a fleet of U.S. ships, going undetected for a time. In addition, Iran released a video clip of one of their drones viewing a U.S. aircraft carrier over in the Middle East. Could it be these countries are testing the waters to see where they stand in relation to us technologically? If they ever attacked us, would we have the guts and even the might to contain them? I'm just not so sure anymore. China has a massive military. If these and other countries have the same technology we do, who are we to think we couldn't be taken over? Do we have the fighting spirit it would take to stop an attack here by these countries?

Well, this could make you fearful, but praise God that as believers in Christ, our status here or in the next world is not dependent upon any nation standing or falling but is dependent on Christ alone and His work on our behalf. Nations rise and nations fall, but the Lord Christ remains the same now and forever. This is our hope and in Him we should not fear. People will ultimately fail us, governments and nations will as well. But Christ will never fail us. In Him, we are "more than conquerors"! And His graces, purchased through His perfect obedience in His submission to the cross, sealed in His resurrection, is what makes us right before God. Even if America were attacked (and eventually I do not believe we will stand), we have perfect acceptance with God for all eternity because of Christ's work for us. What could be better than that? God is for us in Christ! So if we live in peace, or go through tumultuous times and die, we have all we will ever need in Christ. This is our one perfect hope, that we get God Himself for all eternity. O Father, send your Spirit to change my heart that I may see Jesus Christ clearer. Your love to me is not defined by whether nations rise or fall, but on Christ's work alone. Give me and others reading this a love for Jesus, Father, the only thing that matters, that surpasses all our circumstances.

Update (11:48 a.m.): Other Important Articles Related to This:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,229360,00.html
http://www.westerfunk.net/archives/poli ... ompletion/
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Weather Section Updated on Westerfunk.net 

www.westerfunk.net/weather
If you want to check it out, I've added some new features and changed up some things on my weather page on Westerfunk.net. I added streaming links to NBC5i WeatherPlus (including a stream to their live radar), added links to the latest forecast for the DFW area, including an hourly forecast that updates every 5 minutes (thanks to Weather Watcher), and I'm currently in the process of setting up live satellite images of the Earth. In addition I added a page that displays the current pollution levels for North Texas. Pretty sweet stuff.
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New SysInternals Website: Microsoft's Site 

I'm sure a lot of you heard a while back that Microsoft purchased Sysinternals and so now has the rights to it. It's now called Microsoft Sysinternals, and here's the site.

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysint ... fault.mspx

My personal favorites are TCPView, Process Explorer, FileMon, ProcessMon, and Whois. Check 'em out!
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My Grace is Sufficient for You - Various Quotes 

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that no one may boast."

- Ephesians 2:8

"Christian! The only thing that makes you differ from the vilest being that pollutes the earth, or from the darkest fiend that gnaws his chains in hell, is the free grace of God!"

- Octavious Winslow

"This [conversion of the will], I maintain is wholly the work of God, because, as the Apostle testifies, we are not 'sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves,' (2 Cor. 3: 5.) Accordingly, he elsewhere says, not merely that God assists the weak or corrects the depraved will, but that he worketh in us to will, (Philip. 2: 13.) From this it is easily inferred, as I have said, that everything good in the will is entirely the result of grace."

- John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 2, Ch. 6.

"Christ has conquered all in his own person first, and he is 'over all, God blessed for ever' (Rom. 9:5), and therefore over sin, death, hell, Satan and the world. And, as he has overcome them in himself, so he overcomes them in our hearts and consciences. We commonly say that conscience makes a man kingly or contemptible, because it is planted in us to judge for God, either with us or against us. Now if natural conscience be so forcible, what will it be when, besides its own light, it has the light of divine truth put into it? It will undoubtedly prevail, either to make us hold up our heads with boldness, or abase us beneath ourselves. If it subjects itself, by grace, to Christ's truth, then it boldly faces death, hell, judgment and all spiritual enemies, because then Christ sets up his kingdom in the conscience and makes it a kind of paradise. The sharpest conflict which the soul has is between the conscience and God's justice. Now if the conscience, sprinkled with the blood of Christ, has prevailed over assaults fetched from the justice of God, now satisfied by Christ, it will prevail over all other opposition whatsoever."

- Richard Sibbes

"I know that through grace you are saved, not of works, but by the will of God, through Jesus Christ."

- Polycarp

"Now, the wonder of wonders is, that we are proved guilty, and yet we are justified: the verdict has been brought in against us, guilty; and yet, notwithstanding, we are justified. Can any earthly tribunal do that? No; it remained for the ransom of Christ to effect that which is an impossibility to any tribunal upon earth. We are all guilty. Read the 23rd verse, immediately preceding the text—'For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.' There the verdict of guilty is brought in, and yet we are immediately afterwards said to be justified freely by his grace."

- C.H. Spurgeon
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