Monthly Archives: January 2016

The Pledge, Your Master Plan For An Abundant Life

“If I didn’t change myself, my life wouldn’t change – not then or ever.” was Michael Masterson’s (writing under a pen name) defining realization offered in the opening of “The Pledge, Your Master Plan for an Abundant Life”. Masterson was bright and capable, but up until that moment committed to mediocrity. In an instant he realized that if he wanted to live a full and fulfilling life – he had to change.In “The Pledge” Masterson emphasizes “taking action” as the seminal means to achieving success. In example after example he illustrates how “most people” never realize their full potential, nor achieve their most cherished dreams because they are immobilized by fear or ignorance, or are willing to live with an uneasy satisfaction for the status quo. People fail because they aren’t willing to imagine, plan and take deliberate action.Everyone stumbles, everyone falls – everyone who is willing to act that is. If you want to reach your goal you must be willing to accelerate failure, as success is on the other side of challenges.Masterson weaves the thread of taking action throughout “The Pledge”, even the title suggests you must commit to some action. While imploring the reader to act Masterson offers tangible tactics and techniques to organize, aim, assess and advance in life – boldly and brazening. For the one who knows where he or she is going and advances decisively will meet uncommon success.An effective plan for life must be both realistic and flexible. But remember, unless and until you are willing to test and stretch yourself you’ll never know what you are really capable of. You must have a vision, and in time-tested “goal setting” fashion, you must break that long-term, big-picture vision into specific, reasonable, actionable, time-oriented objectives – in writing. Masterson recommends, “…four fundamental life goals. By simplifying your goals into four major ones, you will make it 400 times easier to pursue and achieve them.”Masterson devotes some time and energy to getting “the goals” just right. Words matter. The key steps, however, in achieving what it is you set out to, are to focus, prioritize and then act. Without dedicated action, specific, determined results are a fantasy.The discipline of achievement is not necessarily enjoyable – not in a vacation resort kind of way. Planning every day, then working the plan, is not for the faint of heart. To achieve extraordinary results you must be willing to devote uncommon, time, energy and attention to difficult (at least at first) tasks. And have the persistence and dogged determination to stick with it.Masterson offers three practical steps to success: think, act, and break up your day. “Ultimately, accomplishing your goals all boils down to how you spend your time. What you do and what you fail to do.” Good intentions are not enough.A fan of “Seven Habits”, Masterson advocates: put first things first and focus. People make choices leading to one of three types of activities: “golden”, “vaporous”, or “acidic”. If you truly desire to grow and achieve you must consistently perform “golden” activities – not waste time or worse – destroy your life. Meaningless, busy activities sabotage achievement and undermine human potential.Masterson takes on “the topic”: motivation. Desire, intention, yearning, passion – these are the characteristics of doers, achievers, winners. While he presents checklists and practical suggestions to manage time more effectively – ultimately success comes down to an individual’s motivation. The most telling and illustrative example he offers is the drive, focus, and persistence of an addict – a crackhead. Driven by their yearning, the crackhead finds a way to realize the object of their desire – a drug induced high – over and over again. What misspent potential. If an addict can find a way to destroy themselves, despite the challenges, why can’t you take action to do something great?In “The Pledge”, Masterson offers a formula for learning and growth to overcome the inevitable obstacles: study, observe, then do. The proportion for these activities is 25-25-50 with the weight on doing. Normal people, intelligent or otherwise, resist change – successful people embrace and shape change. Masterson recommends you pay less attention to yourself and devote more attention to other people. Focus on opportunities, not problems. Stay positive. And, most important of all: act. You might just start by taking The Pledge.Copyright (c) 2011 Scott F Paradis


Understanding The Cloud

For the last couple of years the IT industry has been getting excited and energised about Cloud. Large IT companies and consultancies have spent, and are spending, billions of dollars, pounds and yen investing in Cloud technologies. So, what’s uh, the deal?While Cloud is generating lot more heat than light it is, nonetheless, giving us all something to think about and something to sell our customers. In some respects Cloud isn’t new, in other respects it’s ground-breaking and will make an undeniable change in the way that business provides users with applications and services.Beyond that, and it is already happening, users will at last be able to provide their own Processing, Memory, Storage and Network (PMSN) resources at one level, and at other levels receive applications and services anywhere, anytime, using (almost) any mobile technology. In short, Cloud can liberate users, make remote working more feasible, ease IT management and move a business from CapEx to more of an OpEx situation. If a business is receiving applications and services from Cloud, depending on the type of Cloud, it may not need a data centre or server-room any more. All it will require is to cover the costs of the applications and services that it uses. Some in IT may perceive this as a threat, others as a liberation.So, what is Cloud?To understand Cloud you need to understand the base technologies, principles and drivers that support it and have provided a lot of the impetus to develop it.VirtualisationFor the last decade the industry has been super-busy consolidating data centres and server-rooms from racks of tin boxes to less racks of fewer tin boxes. At the same time the number of applications able to exist in this new and smaller footprint has been increasing.Virtualisation; why do it?Servers hosting a single application have utilisation levels of around 15%. That means that the server is ticking over and highly under-utilised. The cost of data centres full of servers running at 15% is a financial nightmare. Server utilisation of 15% can’t return anything on the initial investment for many years, if ever. Servers have a lifecycle of about 3 years and a depreciation of about 50% out of the box. After three years, the servers are worth anything in corporate terms.Today we have refined tool-sets that enable us to virtualise pretty much any server and in doing that we can create clusters of virtualised servers that are able to host multiple applications and services. This has brought many benefits. Higher densities of Application servers hosted on fewer Resource servers enables the data centre to deliver more applications and services.It’s Cooler, It’s GreenerBesides the reduction of individual hardware systems through expeditious use of virtualisation, data centre designers and hardware manufacturers have introduced other methods and technologies to reduce the amount of power required to cool the systems and the data centre halls. These days servers and other hardware systems have directional air-flow. A server may have front-to-back or back-to-front directional fans that drive the heated air into a particular direction that suits the air-flow design of the data centre. Air-flow is the new science in the IT industry. It is becoming common to have a hot-isle and a cold-isle matrix across the data centre hall. Having systems that can respond and participate in that design can produce considerable savings in power requirements. The choice of where to build a data centre is also becoming more important.There is also the Green agenda. Companies want to be seen to be engaging with this new and popular movement. The amount of power needed to run large data centres is in the Megawatt region and hardly Green. Large data centres will always require high levels of power. Hardware manufacturers are attempting to bring down the power requirements of their products and data centre designers are making a big effort to make more use of (natural) air-flow. Taken together these efforts are making a difference. If being Green is going to save money, then it’s a good thing.DownsidesHigh utilisation of hardware introduces higher levels of failure caused, in the most part, by heat. In the case of the 121 ratio, the server is idling, cool and under-utilised and costing more money than necessary (in terms of ROI) but, will provide a long lifecycle. In the case of virtualisation, producing higher levels of utilisation per Host will generate a lot more heat. Heat damages components (degradation over time) and shortens MTTF (Mean Time To Failure) which affects TCO (Total Cost of Ownership = the bottom line) and ROI (Return on Investment). It also raises the cooling requirement which in turn increases power consumption. When Massive Parallel Processing is required, and this is very much a cloud technology, cooling and power will step up a notch. Massive Parallel Processing can use tens of thousands of servers/VMs, large storage environments along with complex and large networks. This level of processing will increase energy requirements. Basically, you can’t have it both ways.Another downside to virtualisation is VM density. Imagine 500 hardware servers, each hosting 192 VMs. That’s 96,000 Virtual Machines. The average number of VMs per Host server is limited by the number of vendor-recommended VMs per CPU. If a server has 16 CPUs (Cores) you could create approximately 12 VMs per Core (this is entirely dependent on what the VM is going to be used for). Therefore it’s a simple piece of arithmetic, 500 X 192 = 96,000 Virtual Machines. Architects take all this into account when designing large virtualisation infrastructures and make sure that Sprawl is kept strictly under control. However, the danger exists.Virtualisation; The basics of how to do itTake a single computer, a server, and install software that enables the abstraction of the underlying hardware resources: Processing, Memory, Storage and Networking. Once you’ve configured this virtualisation-capable software, you can use it to fool various operating systems into thinking that they are being installed into a familiar environment that they recognise. This is achieved by the virtualisation software that (should) contain all the necessary drivers used by the operating system to talk to the hardware.At the bottom of the virtualisation stack is the Hardware Host. Install the hypervisor on this machine. The hypervisor abstracts the hardware resources and delivers them to the virtual machines (VMs). On the VM install the appropriate operating system. Now install the application/s. A single hardware Host can support a number of Guest operating systems, or Virtual Machines, dependent on the purpose of the VM and the number of processing cores in the Host. Each hypervisor vendor has its own permutation of VMs to Cores ratio but, it is also necessary to understand exactly what the VMs are going to support to be able to calculate the provisioning of the VMs. Sizing/Provisioning virtual infrastructures is the new black-art in IT and there are many tools and utilities to help carry out that crucial and critical task. Despite all the helpful gadgets, part of the art of sizing is still down to informed guesswork and experience. This means that the machines haven’t taken over yet!HypervisorThe hypervisor can be installed in two formats:1. Install an operating system that has within it some code that constitutes a hypervisor. Once the operating system is installed, click a couple of boxes and reboot the operating system to activate the hypervisor. This is called Host Virtualisation because there is a Host operating system, such as Windows 2008 or a Linux distribution, as the foundation and controller of the hypervisor. The base operating system is installed in the usual way, directly onto the hardware/server. A modification is made and the system is rebooted. Next time it loads it will offer the hypervisor configuration as a bootable choice2. Install a hypervisor directly onto the hardware/server. Once installed, the hypervisor will abstract the hardware resources and make them available to multiple Guest operating systems via a Virtual machine. VMware’s ESXi and XEN are this type of hypervisor (on-the-metal hypervisor)The two most popular hypervisors are VMware ESXi and Microsoft’s Hyper-V. ESXi is a stand-alone hypervisor that is installed directly onto the hardware. Hyper-V is part of the Windows 2008 operating system. Windows 2008 must be installed first to be able to use the hypervisor within the operating system. Hyper-V is an attractive proposition but, it does not reduce the footprint to the size of ESXi (Hyper-V is about 2GB on the disk and ESXi is about 70MB on the disk), and it does not reduce the overhead to a level as low ESXi.To manage virtual environments requires other applications. VMware offers vCenter Server and Microsoft offers System Center Virtual Machine Manager. There are a range of third-party tools available to enhance these activities.Which hypervisor to use?The choice of which virtualisation software to use should be based on informed decisions. Sizing the Hosts, provisioning the VMs, choosing the support toolsets and models, and a whole raft of other questions need to be answered to make sure that money and time is spent effectively and what is implemented works and doesn’t need massive change for a couple of years (wouldn’t that be nice?).What is Cloud Computing?Look around the Web and there are myriad definitions. Here’s mine. “Cloud Computing is billable, virtualised, elastic services”Cloud is a metaphor for the methods that enable users to access applications and services using the Internet and the Web.Everything from the Access layer to the bottom of the stack is located in the data centre and never leaves it.Within this stack are many other applications and services that enable monitoring of the Processing, Memory, Storage and Network which can then be used by chargeback applications to provide metering and billing.Cloud Computing ModelsThe Deployment Model and the Delivery Model.Deployment Model- Private Cloud
– Public Cloud
– Community Cloud
– Hybrid CloudPrivate Cloud Deployment ModelFor most businesses the Private Cloud Deployment Model will be the Model of choice. It provides a high level of security and for those companies and organisation that have to take compliance and data security laws into consideration Private Cloud will be the only acceptable Deployment Model.Note: There are companies (providers) selling managed hosting as Cloud. They rely on the hype and confusion about what Cloud actually is. Check exactly what is on offer or it may turn out that the product is not Cloud and cannot offer the attributes of Cloud.Public Cloud Deployment ModelAmazon EC2 is a good example of the Public Cloud Deployment Model. Users in this case are, by and large, the Public although more and more businesses are finding Public Cloud a useful addition to their current delivery models.Small business can take advantage of the Public Cloud low costs, particularly where security is not an issue. Even large enterprises, organisations and government institutions can find advantages in utilising Public Cloud. It will depend on legal and data security requirements.Community Cloud Deployment ModelThis model is created by users allowing their personal computers to be used as resources in a P2P (Point-to-Point) network. Given that modern PCs/Workstations have multiprocessors, a good chunk of RAM and large SATA storage disks, it is sensible to utilise these resources to enable a Community of users each contributing PMSN and sharing the applications and services made available. Large numbers of PCs and, possibly, servers can be connected into a single subnet. Users are the contributors and consumers of compute resources, applications and services via the Community Cloud.The advantage of the Community Cloud is that it’s not tied to a vendor and not subject to the business case of a vendor. That means the community can set its own costs and prices. It can be a completely free service and run as a co-operative.Security may not be as critical but, the fact that each user has access at a low level might introduce the risk of security breaches, and consequent bad blood amongst the group.While user communities can benefit from vendor detachment it isn’t necessary that vendors are excluded. Vendor/providers can also deliver Community Cloud, at a cost.Large companies that may share certain needs can also participate using Community Cloud. Community Cloud can be useful where a major disaster has occurred and a company has lost services. If that company is part of a Community Cloud (car manufacturers, oil companies etc.) those services may be available from other sources within that Cloud.Hybrid Cloud Deployment ModelThe Hybrid Cloud is used where it is useful to have access to the Public Cloud while maintaining certain security restrictions on users and data within a Private Cloud. For instance, a company has a data centre from which it delivers Private Cloud services to its staff but, it needs to have some method of delivering ubiquitous services to the public or to users outside its own network. The Hybrid Cloud can provide this kind of environment. Companies using Hybrid Cloud services can take advantage of the massive scalability of the Public Cloud delivered from Public Cloud providers, while still maintaining control and security over critical data and compliance requirements.Federated CloudsWhile this is not a Cloud deployment or delivery model per se, it is going to become an important part of Cloud Computing services in the future.As the Cloud market increases and enlarges across the world, the diversity of provision is going to become more and more difficult to manage or even clarify. Many Cloud providers will be hostile to each other and may not be keen to share across their Clouds. Business and users will want to be able to diversify and multiply their choices of Cloud delivery and provision. Having multiple Clouds increases the availability of applications and services.A company may find that it is a good idea to utilise multiple Cloud providers to enable data to be used in differing Clouds for differing groups. The problem is how to control/manage this multiple headed delivery model? IT can take control back by acting as the central office clearing house for the multiple Clouds. Workloads may require different levels of security, compliance, performance and SLAs across the entire company. Being able to use multiple Clouds to fulfil each requirement for each workload is a distinct advantage over the one-size-fits-all principle that a single Cloud provider brings to the table. Federated Cloud also answers the question of How do I avoid vendor lock-in? However, multiple Clouds require careful management and that’s where the Federated Cloud comes in.So, what is stopping this happening? Mostly it’s about the differences between operating systems and platforms. The other reason is that moving a VM can be difficult when that VM is 100GBs. If you imagine thousands of those being moved around simultaneously you can see why true Cloud federation is not yet with us, although some companies are out there trying to make it happen. Right now you can’t move a VM out of EC2 into Azure or OpenStack.True federation is where disparate Clouds can be managed together seamlessly and where VMs can be moved between Clouds.AbstractionThe physical layer resources were abstracted by the hypervisor to provide an environment for the Guest operating systems via the VMs. This layer of abstraction is managed by the appropriate vendor virtualisation management tools (in the case of VMware its vSphere vCenter Server and its APIs). The Cloud Management Layer (vCloud Director in the case of VMware) is an abstraction of the Virtualisation Layer. It has taken the VMs, applications and services (and users) and organised them into groups. It can then make them available to users.Using the abstracted virtual layer it is possible to deliver IaaS, PaaS and SaaS to Private, Public, Community and Hybrid Cloud users.Cloud Delivery ModelsIaaS-Infrastructure as a Service (Lower Layer)When a customer buys IaaS it will receive the entire compute infrastructure including Power/Cooling, Host (hardware) servers, storage, networking and VMs (supplied as servers). It is the customers responsibility to install the operating systems, manage the infrastructure and to patch and update as necessary. These terms can vary depending on the vendor/provider and the individual contract details.PaaS-Platform as a Service (Middle Layer)PaaS delivers a particular platform or platforms to a customer. This might be a Linux or Windows environment. Everything is provided including the operating systems ready for software developers (the main users of PaaS) to create and test their products. Billing can be based on resource usage over time. There are a number of billing models to suit various requirements.SaaS-Software as a service (Top Layer)SaaS delivers a complete computing environment along with applications ready for user access. This is the standard offer in the Public Cloud. Examples of applications would be Microsoft’s Office 365. In this environment the customer has no responsibility to manage the infrastructure.Cloud Metering & BillingMeteringBilling is derived from the chargeback information (Metering) gleaned from the infrastructure. Depending on the service ordered the billing will include the resources outlined below.Billable Resource Options: (Courtesy Cisco)Virtual machine: CPU, Memory, Storage capacity, Disk and network I/O
Server blade Options will vary by type and size of the hardware
Network services: Load balancer, Firewall, Virtual router
Security services: Isolation level, Compliance level
Service-level agreements (SLAs): Best effort (Bronze), High availability (Silver), Fault tolerant (Gold)
Data services: Data encryption, Data compression, Backups, Data availability and redundancy
WAN services: VPN connectivity, WAN optimisationBillingPay-as-you-Go: Straightforward payment based on billing from the provider. Usually customers are billed for CPU and RAM usage only when the server is actually running. Billing can be Pre-Paid, or Pay-as-you-Go. For servers (VMs) that are in a non-running state (stopped), the customer only pays for the storage that server is using. If a server is deleted, there are no further charges. Pay-as-you-Go can be a combination of a variety of information billed as a single item. For instance, Network usage can be charged for each hour that a network or networks are deployed. Outbound and Inbound Bandwidth can be charged; NTT America charges only for outbound traffic leaving a customer network or Cloud Files storage environment, whereas inbound traffic may be billed, or not. It all comes down to what the provider offers and what you have chosen to buy.Pre-AllocatedSome current cloud models use pre-allocation, such as a server instance or a compute slice,as the basis for pricing. Here, the resource that a customer is billed for has to be allocated first, allowing for predictability and pre-approval of the expenditure. However, the term instance can be defined in different ways. If the instance is simply a chunk of processing time on a server equal to 750 hours, that equates to a full month. If the size of the instance is linked to a specific hardware configuration, the billing appears to be based on hours of processing, but in fact reflects access to a specific server configuration for a month. As such, this pricing structure doesn’t differ significantly from traditional server hosting.Reservation or ReservedAmazon, for instance, uses the term Reserved Instance Billing. This refers to usage of VMs over time. The customer purchases a number of Reserved Instances in advance. There are three levels of Reserved Instance billing, Light, Medium and Heavy Reserved Instances. If the customer increases usage of instance above the set rate Amazon will charge at the higher rate. That’s not an exact description but, it’s close enough.
Cloud billing is not a straightforward and simple as vendors would like to have us believe. Read carefully the conditions and try to stick rigidly to the prescribed usage levels or the bill could come as a shock.The Future of CloudSome say Cloud has no future and that it’s simply another trend. Larry Ellison (of Oracle) made a statement a few years ago that Cloud was an aberration or fashion generated by an industry that was looking desperately for something, anything, new to sell (paraphrased). Others say that Cloud is the future of IT and IS delivery. The latter seem to be correct. It’s clear that Cloud is the topical subject on the lips of all IT geeks and gurus. It’s also true that the public at large is becoming Cloud-savvy and, due to the dominance of mobile computing, the public and business will continue to demand on-tap utility-computing, (John McCarthy, speaking at the MIT Centennial in 1961 forecast that computing would become a public utility), via desktops, laptops, netbooks, iPads, iPhones, Smartphones and gadgets yet to be invented. Cloud can provide that ubiquitous, elastic and billable

Vida Mia Baby Diapers Size 2-48Cts

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God’s Views On Divorce And Remarriage – Part 1 Of 2 Parts

“Marry in haste; repent in leisure,” is a saying laced with alarming possibilities. Even more terrifying is the possibility of too hastily presuming that our views on divorce and remarriage are of God.I passionately long to comfort you and yet I dare not downplay the fearful gravity of this matter. Jesus (and the apostle Paul – (Romans 7:3) kept equating wrong divorce with the sin of adultery. Let’s not allow worldly immorality to desensitize us to what a grave offense this is. Under the Old Testament – still in force when Jesus uttered the words – adultery incurred the death penalty. No wonder Jesus’ teaching on divorce sent such a chill down the disciples’ spines that in horror they responded that it is better never to marry (Matthew 19:10)! And let’s not suppose we can get away with this under the New Covenant:1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral… nor adulterers… will inherit the kingdom of God.That does not render the sin unforgivable, but just as a fireman cannot save a person who refuses to leave a burning building, so Jesus cannot save people who refuse to leave their sin. We cannot save ourselves but we must be willing to let Jesus drag us from the sin we love, or we will die in our sin.I agonize over the possibility that most Christians who sincerely believe they know the morality of divorce and remarriage are completely unaware that their understanding of the Bible’s teaching on this subject is dangerously shallow. Although we tend to drastically oversimplify the biblical and moral dilemmas of divorce and remarriage, it does not necessarily mean we have reached the wrong conclusion. It drastically increases the chance of such a mistake, however; thus exposing us to the grave danger of sinning against God or of being responsible before God for directly or indirectly influencing others to sin.”You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery?” writes Paul (Romans 2:22), implying that one can commit the sin and be quite unaware of it.Your church and favorite Bible teachers might be excellent and have far deeper understanding than me, but does that make them infallible? I doubt if anyone on the planet has a one hundred percent correct interpretation of every aspect of the entire Bible. How then can you be certain that that fraction of a percent where your church or Bible teacher is incorrect does not include teaching about divorce?So why should I be any less fallible? I’m not. So I will not presume to tell you the correct view. What I hope to do, however, is provide a checklist of things that should be prayerfully considered before concluding you have God’s mind on the critical issue of divorce and/or remarriage. You will discover that some points seem pro-divorce and some seem anti-divorce. That’s because I’m not pushing my own views, but seeking to assist you to personally discover God’s will for your situation.Pondering seemingly conflicting points will initially seem confusing but it’s a vital stage in the journey to truth. In addition to the obvious, it eradicates false confidence and drives us to plunge into the heart of God, where both you and I will find all we need.After the checklist we will look at how to find answers.If you tire of the checklistgo straight to the next section(the link at the end of this webpage)Since Christians have vastly different views on this matter, let’s start by considering whether one’s sincere beliefs about the morality of divorce will influence God’s judgment of us if we go ahead and do it. Suppose two Christians in identical circumstances each remarry. One sincerely believes that he has God’s blessing on the new marriage. The other believes that by remarrying he is committing a gross sin. Will God judge them differently? In most countries, ignorance of the law is no excuse. Is this how God judges?In two long passages of Scripture, Paul explains that some things become sin merely because a person believes them to be sin (Romans 14:1-23; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13). It is most important to realize, however, that Paul was referring to acts that are not of themselves sinful. He is not saying that if someone believes “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery” are moral, then they suddenly become acceptable. On the contrary, these belong to the list of which Paul declares, “I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 19-21). Elsewhere he says the same about adultery (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).To understand what Paul was saying, consider this: if you knew that someone believed he was deliberately poisoning your child, you would be extremely upset by his action, even if it turned out that he was mistaken and the substance was harmless. His belief about his action is enough to highly offend you. On the other hand, if someone carelessly poisoned your child, believing the substance to be harmless, you would also be upset. A person’s belief can turn something harmless into sin, but it cannot turn sin into something harmless.If Jane believes something that is innocent is adultery, then if she chooses to do it, she is guilty of adultery in the eyes of the One who sees her heart. If, however, she does something that in God’s eyes is adultery, then she is committing adultery even she sincerely believes that what she is doing is innocent. If Jane’s ignorance was genuine, God will be lenient, but she will still be held accountable.Luke 12:47-48 That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows.There is greater leniency for one, but both are punished.Ignorance is not bliss.Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.If your “belief” that something sinful is acceptable is merely because you have schemed to silence your conscience or to fool God by trying to convince yourself that it has God’s approval, then such “belief” will not even buy you leniency.If you have a shadow of doubt over the legitimacy of something, you must avoid it.Romans 14:23 But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.This Scripture is talking about eating because it applies to minor things, not major matters like adultery. Feeling certain that whatever you do has God’s approval is an essential starting point. To avoid what God regards as adultery, however, in addition to believing that it is right, it must be right.remarriage? A divorced woman told me:I have friends who say I should consider remarriage, but I don’t dare, because I do not want to rationalize that remarriage is permissible if it’s not – and for centuries the understanding of the church was that it was not permissible.Is it mere coincidence that over the last decades, as the world has grown increasingly accepting of divorce, so has much of the church?To discover how addicted to change this world has made us, look back to an era when most people were farmers working the same plot of land as their father’s father, or craftsmen engaged in the same work in the same place, not just all their lives, but for generations. Look at an era where one’s mode of transport or plow puller was not a heartless machine to be traded in next year for the new improved model, but an animal that inspired affection and loyalty and whose death was mourned. Our era stands out from the past as one that exalts self pleasure over duty, personal “advancement” over loyalty, and change over stability. (Note how even the words duty, loyalty, and stability seem old-fashioned.) Wherever we look in modern society we find stressors and mindsets driving us to trade in our partner for a new improved model promising higher status or excitement.Of course, just because certain Christians lived in another era does not make them right. The issue to beg God to search your heart over, however, is this: Are you, and the Christians who influence you, being led by the Spirit of God or unknowingly led by the spirit of the world?Divine forgiveness is perhaps life’s most wondrously liberating experience. We must understand, however, that total forgiveness of our past mistakes does not make us free to keep sinning or to keep enjoying the benefits of past sin. For example, if you stole a million dollars, forgiveness does not make it acceptable for you to continue to live off your ill-gotten gains. Scripture is clear that you must return all the money you stole.Forgiveness does not mean God ceases to be holy and lowers his standards of honesty and faithfulness. If I broke my marriage vows, forgiveness would remove my past guilt, but not my continued moral obligations to the woman I promised myself to.Suppose marrying a particular person was an act of rebellion against God. You might now despise that person but if in God’s sight you are still married to him/her, forgiveness does not mean you are free to commit adultery. A man who is unfaithful to his wife can find forgiveness, but not a divine license to keep committing adultery. To confuse forgiveness with a license to sin is a grave offense against God.So regardless of how deeply forgiven you are, before marrying anyone else you would need to be certain that you are not, in God’s view of marital commitment, still being married to your former partner, because that would make re-marriage adultery in his eyes, no matter what divorce documents you can produce and how much your past offenses are forgiven.Jesus gives an exception to the general rule. “Except for fornication” is how the King James Version puts it. That’s rather mysterious. Why didn’t he say, “except for adultery”? Exactly what Jesus meant is not immediately obvious. Some think Jesus was referring to any form of sexual infidelity, perhaps even including deliberate and continual adulterous thoughts or an addiction to porn or to masturbation. Some go to the other extreme and think that because Jesus did not say “except for adultery,” he was referring solely to premarital infidelity discovered after marriage, such as discovering on the wedding night that the bride is not a virgin.Jesus does not say that the person initiating the divorce commits adultery. What he says is much more puzzling. He says the man divorcing a woman causes her – “the innocent party” – to commit adultery.Matthew 5:32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife… causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.I will not give my opinion of the following interpretation, but before proceeding with divorce one needs to be certain that it is incorrect. (For ease of reading I refer to “Mary” and Joe” but the genders could just as easily have been reversed.)Mary is a good, faithful wife who longs to remain married to Joe, but he divorces her. As far as the divorce is concerned, Mary is utterly innocent. If Joe remains celibate for life, he has not committed adultery. Nevertheless, Joe’s decision to end the marriage exposes Mary to the strong temptation to eventually re-marry. Of course Mary is responsible for her response to the temptation, but by initiating the divorce, Joe is as guilty as the devil in causing Mary to suffer the strong temptation to “commit adultery,” that is, to re-marry. To be the cause of temptation is a grave offense:Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.But why would Jesus imply the innocent party commits adultery if she remarries? Because, according to this interpretation, in God’s sight a marital union can be dissolved only by death, regardless of how innocent one party is or how guilty the other one is.Whoever Mary marries is likely to be doubly innocent regarding the divorce and yet this person is committing adultery, because despite a divorce certificate and subsequent marriage, in God’s sight Mary is still bound to her former partner, even though he no longer wants her.Jesus gives an exception to the above – one that applies if Mary were not innocent. Suppose Mary were committing adultery before Joe even considered divorce. Since she is so hell-bent on committing adultery that not even marriage keeps her faithful, it could not be said that by divorcing her, Joe was causing her to commit adultery. She would commit adultery even if he didn’t divorce her. Nevertheless, Joe would himself be committing adultery if he remarried, because marriage is binding for life no matter what either party do.Mark 10:11 Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her.I repeat that I make no claim about the correctness of this interpretation, but to honor God, one should be certain it is wrong before proceeding with divorce or re-marriage.Could there be situations where God actually requires divorce – or at least separation? We see an Old Testament instance of this in Ezra chapter ten, where those guilty of marrying pagan wives were compelled to divorce. This must be read in the light of 1 Corinthians 7:12-16, which seems to take a very different approach. Nevertheless, here is a case where divorce was not merely permitted but was mandatory.Now let’s move to the New Testament. It speaks of the importance of separating from those who claim to be believers but are engaged in blatant, repeated, unrepentant sin. We read, for instance:1 Corinthians 5:11… you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.Suppose, you are married to someone who considers the ideal is to “enjoy” both sexual unfaithfulness and the benefits of being married to you. If you knowingly allow your spouse to pursue this, does that make you a partner in his/her sin? Of course you cannot prevent your partner from being unfaithful, but if you are aware of what is happening, it is your decision as to whether your partner can enjoy marital privileges with you while pursuing extramarital sin. In theory, you could give the ultimatum: “Either be completely faithful or the marriage is over.” What if giving this ultimatum is the one thing that would keep your partner from sin? If you give and maintain the ultimatum and your partner disregards it, no one could say you have made it easy for him/her to sin.Imagine for a moment if in God’s eyes marriage is dissoluble only by death. Would that mean that if Jan is married to a divorced man, every day that she remains married to him she is continuing to commit adultery? Does this mean that in order to stop sinning she must separate from him? Does it mean that if for these reasons she divorces him, she is free to remarry, since her first marriage was not a marriage in God’s sight but an adulterous affair?One might suppose that remarrying someone you had previously divorced would be a godly way of correcting a past mistake. However, our Lord revealed in the Old Testament that, at least in some instances, this could be highly offensive to God. It says that if a man divorced his wife and she married someone else who then dies or divorces her, it is a gross sin for the first husband to remarry his former wife (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). This should be treated with extreme seriousness, given the fact that it is found in the same Testament that permits divorce. The precise situation it describes, however, might be critical. Without David divorcing his wife, her father had her married off to someone else. David took her back again (2 Samuel 3:13-16), presumably because although she had been remarried, there was no divorce of the first marriage. This suggests that each condition of Deuteronomy 24:1-4 must be fulfilled before God considers remarrying the same person an abomination. An example of a scenario not specifically mentioned is if the divorcee did not marry someone else.God’s commands are not always blanket statements divinely intended to cover every rare and unlikely scenario. For instance, of all the Gospels, only Matthew says “except for fornication” when forbidding divorce. Presumably Mark and Luke regarded this as an intended exception that they felt no compulsion to spell out. Could there be other exceptions to the general ban on divorce that Scripture does not bother to enumerate?For an example on the other side of the ledger, the Ten Commandments forbid the coveting of a neighbor’s wife, but say nothing about a woman coveting a neighbor’s husband. Clearly this is a law not intended to include every possible scenario. It is an obvious instance of the Lord expecting his people to draw principles from general laws and under his inspiration and guidance – not our whims – apply them to specific situations.Jesus said, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions” (Luke 6:3-6). Jesus seems to regard this as acceptable, even though such an exception is not spelt out in the law.There are grave dangers with pursuing this line of thought but the next point demonstrates that the other extreme is not without its dangers.It is possible to offend God by being too strict in interpreting his commands. Many devout Jews felt they were honoring the Almighty by insisting that Jesus not heal on the Sabbath. This seems reasonable; after all there were six other days in which one could heal. Nevertheless, their strict interpretation was wrong and drew Jesus’ wrath because it showed lack of compassion.If, through too strict an interpretation of Scripture, you influenced a woman not to leave her abusive husband, could God hold you guilty of pressuring her to be molested or tormented by her husband? Or could you cause an abandoned partner to fall into sexual sin because you have convinced that person that re-marriage is forbidden?We must avoid being like those experts in Jewish law whom Jesus accused of loading people down with burdens (Matthew 13:4). Even the apostle Paul, whose personal preference was that every Christian remain unmarried, recognized that in our sex-crazed world, celibacy is an impractical and excessive burden to lay on most people (1 Corinthians 7:1-9 – note, however, the next verse).

Automated Link Exchanges – Easy PR Or SEO Nightmare?

Automated Link Building SystemsIm sure many of you, as I have, receive lots of spam email saying “we have placed your link on our PR4 site! please place a link back on your site.” For those of you new to SEO, PR refers to which is a value assigned by Google from 0-10 with 10 being the highest and almost impossible to get ranking. Even eBay is only a PR9! OBL stands for Out Bound Links which are simply links on a page that link to another web site. Pagerank is calculated, in part by how many IBL (In bound links) with each site counting as a vote. IBLs are the same as OBLs depending on who you are talking about – if its your site and the link is on another page its an IBL for you, to the site owner its an OBL because it links away from there site to yours. Am I making this confusing? Sorry, anyway read on.Now there are a number of reasons why these things are worthless and probably detrimental to your site. Here are the main reasons these things bug me so much:1) High PR? Not on the page your link is on!
The emails refer to a high PR site which is “”, and that domain may have a decent PR, maybe its a 4 or 6. However, thats NOT where your link is – your link is buried several folders down in their “links”section which usually has 10 to 20 pages with almost no PR and certainly no traffic.2) Lost in the crowd?
The page that your link has beenplaced on has 100 other links on it. Making the chance of someone clicking on your link almost zero – now I understand that most people are linking to build inbound links for PR purposes, but if your going to go to the trouble of trading links, you might as well go for something that has a chance of being clicked!3) PR To Spare! NOT
PR is divied up and distributed to all the outbound links on a page. To illustrate this (keep in mind these are bogus numbers for demonstration purposese)- Lets say that a PR6 site has a potential PR distribution value of 30,000 points – (say 10,000 points equals a PR 4) now theoreticall – based on research I have read and can provide if anyone wants it, if you had three outbound links on this page, each link would receive 10,000 points each and supply the equivalent of a PR4 to each of the 3 pages.Now, lets say that same PR6 page ads 3 more OBL. Now there are 6 OBL’s and each is getting 5000 points each (30,000/6=5000) and now each site is only getting the value worth a PR 2 or 3 passed to them.Now keep in mind, the numbers here are not accurate and are simplified, however the basis for this concept is ABSOLUTELY VERIFIED AND TRUE. There are several scientific studies and published reports on Pagerank that show this to be true.Now, on these link pages there are 50 to 100 or more links per page – the PR value they are passing is NEXT TO NOTHING.4) My links on! woohoo!
Google does not give must credence or value to link pages. So even of the link page has a high PR, the page is not views as “valuable” or “authoritative” by Google and therefore has even less value.5) Dont follow that link!
Its easy for these pages to link to “bad neighborhoods” as defined by the googles webmaster guidelines. The quality of all these automated links is very hard to manage and its highly likely that there are banned sites on the same page as your link will appear! This is a major red flag to google.6) Gimme Gimme Gimme, I need some more!
The sites that host these automated link farms (lets just call them what they are, i dont care what site its onits a mini link farm) are getting a GREAT benefit from all the suckers that link to them, heres why: When they ask for your link, they are hoping that the suckers out there will put the link into the site on a nice prominent page link there home page or a link page that doesn’t have 100 other links on it. Many uneducated webamsters might fall for this and think, “hey great a PR6 site will link to my dinky pr3 blog, ill putt here link right on my home page!” – well the site gets a valuable PR3 link with out much competiton, and the sucker PR3 blog owner gets basically nothing of value in return. This is just bad internet karma.In closing, while it seems like a great idea to automate the linking process and get your site linked on hundreds of pages using these “link building systems” – in reality it is just essentially another get rich quick scheme – or I guess in this case a “get PR quick scheme” and it will end up hurting you rather that helping you.You would be much better off spending your time cointacting relevant sites and actually exchanging links to old fashion way.© Copyright Wesley Warren 2007 – This article may be published via RSS or copied in whole as long as all the original links are left in place and unaltered and the complete text of the article stays in place including this copyright notice.

Diary of a Tall Fashionista – Large Shoe Size, Great Shoe Buys

My only solace that summer is over is that fall has come. And with it, ubiquitous fashion magazines boasting the season’s must haves, gotta haves, wish you had. While I generally pore over such magazines, I’m especially voracious for the shoe section. If jeans are my first love, shoes are a very close second. I won’t even admit to how many pairs I own, partly because I lost count quite some time ago. Due to my collection (“collection” sound so much nicer than “obsession” doesn’t it?!) I am always eager to read what the “experts” are saying about shoe trends and how to apply them to long legs, and let’s face it- big feet. Typically I write very favorably about our good fortune in the height department. But let’s be honest. Sometimes the price we pay is looking longingly at the size 8 section while cursing our genes, or if we are freaks of the family as I am, just cursing in general. But just because we have big feet, ahem…non petite feet, doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the season’s hottest trends.I could write a novel about the many styles, designs, trends, shapes, colors, textiles, genus, species, and families of shoes. And though it would be fascinating, I’ll spare you the delightful details. I’ll just talk about a few of my favorite styles. Now this one may be disputable, but my absolute favorite fall staple is a pair of warm, cozy, and comfortable Uggs. I’m aware that every fall, some fashion columnist deems Uggs “out.” Yet, I argue that this trend has staying power. People are still splurging on the real thing, or buying every kind of knock off known to man. So apparently their appeal has yet to wane. Next is the riding boot phenomenon. Who knew equestrian wear could be so fun? Like Uggs, I suspect there will be those who label these “so last season,” but again I beg to differ. Casual boots of all styles are a staple for your fall wardrobe.What I appreciate most about both Uggs and riding boots are that they look great on long legs and big feet. Most women might avoid cutting the line of their legs nearly in half but we have a few inches to spare. Both of these styles also typically come in flats and large sizes. Another flattering trend for tall women is ballet flats which are showing up all over the place in fall textures like tweed, patent leather, and faux animal skins. I won’t lecture those of you who do not wear heels; I understand the temptation to avoid all the unoriginal comments about already being tall enough, not “needing” heels, the air up there, yada yada yada. Regardless, I am six feet tall and I refuse to give up heels. Um, does the word “glamazon” mean anything to you?!For those of you who are a slightly bolder and like not only a high heel, but unexpected details, you will be pleased to find that of bows, jewels, peep-toes, updated oxfords, and retro shapes. To make your foot appear smaller try round toes, the recent “cap toe” trend, with the toe in a different color than the rest of the shoe (the caveat is these heels are typically higher), color blocks, and banded flats or Mary Jane’s. These styles break the foot into smaller parts and trick the eye. No ladies, there are no Spanx for feet. I googled it.All advice aside, if you are obsessively self conscious about your feet…they will appear bigger (terribly silly pun intended). So the balance is to wear trends that flatter, but not focus on the negative. While I have a weakness for fashionable trends, I refuse to be enslaved by them. There are a variety of options in terms of large sizes, styles and trends, so shop around until you find the perfect pair (ok, let’s be realistic- the perfect pairs) for fall.

Seventh Generation White Paper Towels, 2-ply, 140-sheet Rolls, 6-Count (Pack of 4) (Packaging may vary)

When life gets messy, clean it up with Seventh Generation’s strong, absorbent & virtually lint free 100% Recycled Paper Towels, made with a minimum of 50% post consumer recycled content. We keep our products simple by never adding any dyes of fragrances during the paper making process. Whitened without chemicals containing chlorine, our paper towels are gently on the earth yet tough on spills. With “right-size” half-sheets for smaller jobs, they’re a smart way to stretch all kinds of resources a whole lot further.
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