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Search Engines

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There are a lot of search engines about, the most popular one is Google so its best to always start there. Another reason to start there is that when someone creates a website they have to register it with search engines and Google has the most sites registered to it. Google also owns some of the largest sites on the internet now such as YouTube and blogger (so do not worry if you have a blog on there, Google knows it’s there you don’t have to do anything)

I thought I would share a few facts on search engines then I will give some tips on how to use it effectively.
1. Search engines cannot search the whole internet, they only have access to less then 10%, one reason is because sites have to register with them to be found but also because a large part of the internet is behind a or is private so search engines cannot go there. If you wish to know more this site has some good information: http://netforbeginners.about.com/cs/secondaryweb1/a/secondaryweb.htm

2. When you put your search term and click search what happens is that the search engine sends out data packages called spiders to crawl the network to find the information you are looking for. They then bring that information back and index it according to how relevant it is for your search. This site shows a good overview of what happens when you use Google to search the internet. Google: How search works

3 Different search engines can be useful depending on what you are searching for, for example Google scholar searches for journals and papers and is useful for researching, plus there are sites dedicated to just finding jobs in certain areas and fields etc. Also when you use a site, that has a search facility that only searches their site. So without realising it you are using probably using many other search engines as you look around the internet.
Using Google

As Google is the best known and most used I will give a little advice on searching on there to get good results.
It actually does help to know a few things on using Google to help you find the site you need. When you begin a search be as specific as you can be and once you have the results look at what you have and refine your search accordingly.  For example if you are looking for a chicken recipe put in the term: chicken recipes then if you need something for a dietary requirement put that in too. So chicken recipes could become gluten free chicken recipes, you might find that gets a lot of results so you may need to refine a little more. Depending on the results you get depends on how you refine maybe you get a lot of results from a specific country so could try to put in your country. Then your search term becomes gluten free chicken recipes UK. Maybe you find a nice ingredient in a recipe, pop that ingredient into your search term and search again. As you go along you will find you get more and more specific results to what you are looking for. Eventually you should get a list of sites that are more manageable to look at.

If there is something you do not want to come up in your searches then put a minus sign before it and Google will not return with pages with that word in.

Its best to keep your search term specific as Google doesn’t read words such as ‘and’ or ‘it’ in sentences. Nor does it read punctuation. However if you wish Google to search those terms you need to put quotation marks around them.  But be aware it will search each word on its own so will come up with a huge amount of results that might not be relevant.  If you wish Google to search the whole sentence as a whole, say a title for a book then you put quotation marks at the beginning or the end of the search term. This means you can be very specific about what you wish Google to search for. This page has some good and simple tips to get the best results. Google: Basic tips on searching

I hope these tips have been some help. Searching can be quite daunting if you have never done it before and next time I will go over some safety features on Google and other sites so we don’t get any sites that we don’t wish to see. Obviously as Christians we will come across things that we might not agree with or things that might be offensive as the world sees things very different to us. But the Lord understands and sees our hearts, He knows when we are searching for something that we shouldn’t be and if we have just come across something we didn’t want to find.

According to Google there are 60 trillion web pages on the internet and we know the Lord knows every single one of them, He knows who created it and what and who is looking at them, we cannot escape Him even here and He will protect us if we ask Him. The internet can be a great tool for us to glorify Him and learn about Him if used correctly and He will guide us on here like He does in all aspects of life. We must make sure what we look at is not damaging to our fellowship with Him or leads us to sin and the temptation can be very strong, but the word says if we resist the devil he will flee so take heart as you use the internet as the Lord knows your intentions and your weaknesses and He will help you.

 

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Accessing (and Respecting) The Internet

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Whenever we go in to the internet and ask it to do something such as search or go on Facebook our device sends out requests through the network and will be directed were to go by servers etc. This can get a little complicated so I will try to go over it simply in the next post when I discuss searching the internet.

Accessing the internet now is a lot easier as each device has its own way of accessing the internet, if you are accessing at home you just need to put in the code that’s on your router into your device and it will access the internet for you.

⦁ A router is a the box that your internet provider sends you that you plug into your phone line, it basically works as a signal box for the information and tells it where to go in the first instance.

However as you are reading this I am going to assume you have got that far already so I wanted to share something that is worth remembering when you are on the internet.

Everything on the internet and everything we do on the internet takes up space. Everything we upload to the internet takes up space, everything we look at or download from the internet takes up space. It takes up space on our devices and our devices saves a snapshot of every site we access. The means of travel for the information whether it is a physical line or wireless also has a space limit. So as information passes back and forth that space can be taken up and slow things down. Whenever we access a site we are taking up space on their server as we access the information on their site and it is brought up on our screens (which is a form of downloading).

⦁ Uploading is when you put something onto the system i.e a photo you share on Facebook, downloading is when we save something from the system on to our device.

Every device has an address assigned to it called an IP address, so it  can access the internet. It also means that websites have access to that address. This is saved in a little data packet called a cookie. And our devices saves its own cookie from the sites we have visited that has in it the information of the site we accessed and date of when we accessed it.

I have mentioned this as it is worth knowing as the internet is not a limitless entity floating in space, it is being managed by millions of people and information is being passed everyday which is taking up space on all devices and the lines that the information is passing through. So if your internet is slow, it is worth checking what you are looking at and how many pages you have open. – There could be other reasons but that is worth remembering.

The internet is not infallible, there are real humans behind everything and mistakes are made often, things go wrong often and sometimes we just ask too much from the devices we have. We have access to all this information and as a result it is easy to take for granted the work that has gone into us having this tool at our fingertips.As we have traffic jams on the motorway we have information jams on the internet. I believe that if we are to use the internet for Gods glory we must respect it and all the work that people do so we have access to all this information and ways of communicating. I think the internet is wonderful and I am grateful for it!  It is tempting to get frustrated when things go wrong but we must be aware that there are real people behind everything on the internet and there is no difference between losing your temper at someone face to face or somewhere on here.

As Christians it is wise to remember that we are dealing with real people and whatever we say on the internet will be seen by real people. I will discuss this more but for now we must try to remember that we are witnesses for the Lord on the internet as we are in the world and that we should speak to others on there as we would in the world. We also have the knowledge from our Lord that every gift we have is a blessing and the internet is a gift. It is abused by many as is the world and that is also a great gift. So lets try to use the internet to be salt and light as we do in the world.
Thank you for reading and I hope this has been of some use to someone.

Influenced

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As Little S gets older he seems to be taking more and more in of his surroundings. I’m finding he’s doing things and I have no idea where its from or where he’s seen it. One example is he started covering his mouth and pretending to cough, I found out he saw his Dad do it. It’s what we all did as children, we copied others actions and learned from those around us. Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes no so much.

As I think about this I wondered if this stops once we become adults and I thought about what the bible says about copying:

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
 Romans 12:2

Here we are being told to not allow the world to influence us, that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds…

To renew means to start over, replenish, restart and when I looked up the opposite to renew thesaurus.com says this:

Destroy, finish, halt, shorten, stop, break, damage, depress, discourage, hurt, kill, leave alone, ruin.
Not nice! But this is what the world does, God renews us daily yet the world wears us down until we are broken. There is no rest in the world, but there is in Jesus, a very real and genuine rest. That we have access to every day.

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. – 2 Corinthians 2:16

I was once in a car going past a large hedge surrounding a field, we passed a sheep who had found a hole in the hedge and was trotting onto the very busy main road, there was a queue of sheep behind all following the first sheep.

I believe that when the Lord describes us as sheep that this is one of the reasons why. From birth we copy each other and we don’t stop and think about if it’s a good or right thing. When we turn to Christ He breaks us free of this stronghold but we have to keep asking God to help us not to be influenced by the world. We need to be careful of what we watch, read and listen to, including conversations we have. It’s not easy but we have to remember we are not part of the world anymore, we are are part of the Kingdom of God. And the only one we should be following and copying is Jesus.

Little S doesn’t know what he is copying and right now he will copy whatever he sees, we may have a little more discernment as adults but that doesn’t mean we don’t succumb to the same thing. As Christians we have to realise that just because someone is claiming that what they are doing is in Gods will, we should not be gullible and always look to scripture as our guide.  And remember, Jesus is our Good Shepherd and He is always looking out for those of us who are following who we shouldn’t be. We have to have our hearts open and ready to hear Him call us back.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
John 10:27

What is the Internet?

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This is the first post in the series A Christians Guide to the Internet. If you want to know what this is all about then please visit the introductory post here.
This first post covers how the internet began and what it actually is.
So, what is the Internet?
Put simply the internet is a network of various devices, computers, laptops, servers, phones, tablets and anything else that we use to access the internet all communicating and passing and sharing information to each other via phone lines or radio waves (WiFi). This happens in what is called small data packages that travels across the Phones lines or Wifi.
The physical network of devices (computers, laptops etc) is called the World Wide Web, the information that is accessible on the network is called the internet.
⦁ A network is a system of ‘things’ or people that are all interconnected. In this case ‘things’ i.e whatever we use to go on the internet with.
How it began
In 1989 Tim Berners-Lee discovered that he could get a computer to share information with a server (a storage device) and the World Wide Web was born.
⦁ A server is different to a computer as it is used for storing information and now they are also used to host sites on for the people who own and create the website. You can even buy your own server yourself if you have the money and the inclination to do so.
The internet came after then as more clever people came together and started to grow the network and how the information is accessed and shared and they built on what Tim Berners-Lee pioneered. And as more people add their own information and technology it has grown into the very large system we have today.
So obviously the internet has grown significantly over the years as we have millions of devices all over the world connected to this network. It is worth remembering that no one owns the internet, Tim Berners-Lee was very adamant that would not happen.  But people do own the physical space that information is hosted on (servers).
Lots of different companies hire out and sell this space for people to host their websites etc on. And really big companies such as Google and public services such as banks and government bodies have their own servers. The internet is layered in that way and has a lot of information that the public cannot access such as personal bank details etc. It is so vast now though and owned by so many people that the internet has become an entity that is hard to police or control by any government (not that they don’t try).
I think this is why some people can become overwhelmed but as you would not try to look at the world as a whole and try to understand all the tribes and cultures and government systems, you don’t need to look at the internet as a whole either. Just what you wish to use it for.
So some points to remember:

  • The internet is millions of devices all on a network communicating and passing information to each other.
  • The physical network system of devices is called the World Wide Web.
  • The information being passed, shared and stored is the internet.
  • The World Wide Web began by a discovery of being able to get a computer and a server to talk to each other and pass information down phones lines in little data (information) packets.
  • Wireless devices uses radio waves which we call wifi.
  • Nobody owns the internet, but many different people own the different servers used to host information on. Some of which the public can access some we can’t.
  • A server is usually what the information is hosted on. Which is a device used to store and host information on for those who have created the website.
  • A website is the name for whatever you visit on the internet to look or read such as this site ‘Spans Studio’ and the screen you are looking at is called a webpage.
  • Information travels in small data packages via phone lines or radio waves. – this too has a space limit as information takes up space.
  • The internet has a limit but is always being added to.

The internet has information on there that’s been added by millions of people all over the world, some good information, some not so much. Yet even with all that information at our fingertips it still isn’t anything compared to the knowledge God has, for He knows all. So as we search and share on the internet, remember God knows everything on there as well, who has posted it and why who has searched for it and why. And He will help us if we wish to use our time on there to glorify Him and learn His word.

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In the next post we will discuss accessing the internet.

Reference:
Wikipedia page on Tim Berners-Lee: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Berners-Lee

Newborn

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When I came home with Little S, I was so shocked by how deeply I had the need to hold him. In fact his Dad and I hardly put him down for the first few months of his life. I held him all day and it felt wonderful, some days were very hard as I struggled to calm him down, not knowing why he was crying. I was exhausted from it and had a relapse of my dizzyness, but he was so worth it. I just wanted to look at him all the time hold him close as I was amazed by this little precious life I’d been given to take care of. In my eyes he was perfect and I’ve never felt love like it. The need to take care of Him was so deep.

It reminded me of when I first turned to Jesus. I felt so elated but also overwhelmed as I was still very ill and at the beginning of a long journey. The Lord held me close the whole time, He never put me down and as Little S slept in my arms most of the time, I rested in the Lords arms, like Little S would cry when he needed something I cried often (daily in fact) turning to Jesus for comfort. He fed me (1 peter 2:2) and He held me, He did everything for me and really made His presence felt for the first few years. The difference is, He never grew weary or tired as I did, He never became frustrated from not knowing what I needed as He always knew. Much like how a new Mum holds their baby, comforts them, feeds them God does this with all His newborns and His love is so deep for us, even more so than mine is for Little S. When We first come to Him we hold a special place in His heart and He desires to hold us close and protect us.

Like Little S has done we do grow and we need less reassurance but we will always need our Father to guide us and comfort us, we will mature in Him and grow in Him as we study His word, talk to Him, walk closely with Him our relationship with Him changes as mine has with Little S, he still needs lots of cuddles and lots of help but I stand back a little now and only step in when he gets in a mess. Like little S I don’t cry as much now and I am learning new ways to communicate my needs and desires.  But even though our relationship with Him changes, He never changes and the loving caring Father who held me so tightly for the first few years of my life with Him still loves me just as deeply and always will.  As he does for all us.

and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3

 

A Christians Guide to the Internet – Introduction

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A couple of years ago I wrote a short series about the internet specifically for Christians for a library website I was working on. It’s based on my experience of working for printed publications via the internet, courses I have taken through the OU about the internet and of course blogging on here since 2008. It’s very basic and I don’t claim to be an expert at all but it was something I felt burdened to write. The site that published this series has been taken down now and I was sent it to share here, I hope it blesses you!

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When used correctly the internet can be a great tool for Christians. It can be used to share your walk with Christ, as a research tool to aide you in your Bible studies and a way to connect with brothers and sisters in Christ worldwide. We can reach and help those in need now more than we have ever been able to thanks to the World Wide Web. You can also, should you wish, learn many skills here that can be dedicated to the Lord’s work.

Being on the internet as a Christian is no different to being in the world as a Christian. There are things that are not right in God’s eyes, lies are spread (very easily), there are many false preachers, people bully, argue and say cruel things to one another and crimes are committed. Sins are committed on here like they are in the world as it is used by real people with real lives. Does this mean we should avoid the internet? I don’t believe so and I don’t believe the Lord would have all of us avoid it for those reasons either. *

The internet is used by millions of people who do not know Jesus. Many people live their whole lives on here and many also have full careers on here. It is now an integral part of many peoples lives and they use it everyday for lots of different reasons. Being on the internet however doesn’t mean we should partake in anything that is ungodly or encourage others to do so. As we are to be in the world not of the world – the internet is no different – we must take responsibility, with the help of the Holy Spirit, of our time spent on the internet. This series however is not to tell anyone what to do while on the internet. How you choose to use the internet is between you and the Lord and He will protect your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus here as well as as anywhere you go.

It is my aim with this series to help anyone who wishes to spend time on the internet and is unsure of it to learn how it works. To share tips and tricks on on how to be safe, how to avoid seeing anything you don’t wish to see and how to find the sites that you wish to find and practice discernment in what you read. Plus I will share a few different ways to share your walk with the Lord from my experience of blogging and being on social networking sites for several years. A few years ago I did a short course on the how to use the internet plus a few on how to blog and I will be sharing the things I feel that are relevant now to help anyone learn about the internet.

This series is specifically for Christians (though if you aren’t and it helps you that is great) who wish to use the internet but don’t know how or have little confidence with technology and are weary of what they might find on it. I do not claim to be an expert but I am willing to share what little knowledge I have if it will help anyone in this area.

As always I would encourage anyone to go to the Lord for guidance, test everything with scripture and to do your own research. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your time on here and help you use it wisely and to protect your hearts and minds. And if there is anything I, or anyone else, shares that pricks your conscience – don’t do it. Trust the Lord to guide you and you can’t go far wrong.

I pray that this series blesses you and helps you feel a little more confident on using the internet for Gods glory. If you have any questions or would like me to do a post on anything then please use the contact form on this site.

*If the Lord has for whatever reason told you to not go on the internet, then this course is not for you, His word is final in your life and nothing I say here should be used to go against His wishes for the individual.

Cleaning up

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Like all toddlers Little S is messy. He likes to stick his hands in his food and smear it everywhere, he likes to pour his water all over the carpet and down himself, I have to keep crayons and such out of reach because I know he will use anything he can find as a canvas. He loves to play in mud and soil and has attempted to eat various creatures such as snails and slugs. I know this is very normal and He is just exploring and learning about the world around him. I actually enjoy watching it and I love to see him learning and exploring. It does mean more work for me however and I have discovered that if I don’t clean up straightaway I am in for a lot more work later on.

Food goes hard and crusty, clothes covered in water if left in the basket go moldy and well if your little boy has slug guts on his hands and face you just need to get that wiped up I don’t need to explain that one.

As I was trying to scrub up some weetabix off the table from little S’s breakfast I thought to myself how if we don’t deal with sin as soon as it crops up then that too gets harder to deal with later.

In 1 John 1:9 it says: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Isn’t that amazing? with the verses before and after it reads this: If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar, and His word is not in us.

To know God and His word is to know that we are sinners so there’s no point in trying to hide it or deny it, just confess it all to God and He will forgive us. God will not be shocked by anything you say.

But if we don’t confess it and let it fester, it disrupts our relationship with him, just like Little S’s weetabix your heart gets harder to Him and to His word and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. We move away from Him and old habits and things we had been healed from such as bitterness and resentment start to set back in, in essence we go moldy like unwashed clothes. Instead of just going to him to be cleaned and cleaned straightaway we mess it right up and make it harder on ourselves than we need to.

As I clean little S’s messes up that he makes because I’m his Mum, God will cleanse me when I go to him as He is my Father, all I have to do is ask.  He wont get mad He will just help me to turn from it and teach me a better way. And He will not give up on me. He will forgive me and we can move on. I don’t remind Little S of his messes and God will not remind us of ours. Don’t let unrepentant sin come between you and your Father, you don’t have to confess to anyone else, just Him. He has promised to forgive and He does not lie.

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