In another step forward, simplybible.com has been approved for an SSL certificate. This means that you can browse the site privately. Information passing between our server and your computer is encrypted. This new security happens without much ado. About all you will notice, is a new tag in the page banner, and possibly a padlock symbol and “https” in the browser address bar.
The website upgrade has been completed, covering over 1300 Bible study pages. There are three main improvements to the website…
Firstly, each series of lessons now has its own individual short startup script instead of one long script shared by all 1658 lessons. This speeds up page loading and enables more flexibility for special features in a particular series. There are over 80 different series of study pages as displayed in the Topics tab (at the banner of any page). All the index pages also now have short startup scripts.
Secondly, every lesson now has a pdf counterpart to enable users to easily save or download a page on to their computers. There are around 1300 pdf documents now available on the website. The pdf version of a page is easily accessed from a prominent link at the bottom of the page. The pdf documents have the same content as that of a printed page, but they can be accessed offline once downloaded.
Thirdly, attention was given to page outline and structure, and to a consistency of design and display across all pages.
Having completed this upgrade, I will now continue adding features to existing pages and creating new lesson pages.
Here’s an update on the experience of a “switcher” from Windows to an Apple computer. I was happily surprised at how quickly the Apple iMac became productive. So far I am very satisfied with its performance, and have been doing my work on it efficiently.
Oops! When I first set iCloud going, it began, by default, to invisibly upload to the cloud every photo and video on my computer. This caused gridlock. For an hour I didn’t realise the cause. When I figured out what was happening, I unchecked every iCloud option, to stop it uploading automatically. I would have thought unchecked would be the sensible default. Perhaps, like Microsoft, Apple assumes that everybody has super-fast broadband.
Use of the cloud proved to be far too slow for multiple file transfers between my iMac and Windows 10. Instead, I set up the Windows 10 notebook to “see” and access folders on the iMac directly, using a local home wireless network, without involving the internet.
My experience with TextWrangler rates ten out of ten. It even does search and replace on multiple files, and has an excellent menu options for opening and closing files.
The Apple Store didn’t have any serious photo-editing software, so I purchased PhotoShop Elements with which I am quite familiar. I am delighted with Version 14. The Camera Raw add-on is excellent. There are several other improvements. It runs well on the Apple Mac.
The Time Machine which works with the Time Capsule is really good and easy to use. However, on automatic it jams up our wireless system. So it has to be switched off auto, and started manually at bed time to run during the night. The same applies to Apple Updates. At least Apple makes this very easy to do.
I am really enjoying working on a larger screen. Also the Retina display, with its very high resolution and beautiful lighting, is a blessing for my old eyes.
James says, “Let patience have its perfect result” (James 1:2). Patience is a virtue, but not as an end in itself. It’s only because patience results in a “perfect work” that there is any real point to it. By enduring our troubles, and not letting them get us down, we can derive benefit from them.
So what is this beneficial result? What is this “perfect work” of patience? We become “strengthened with power through God’s Spirit in the inner person” (Ephesians 3:16). Patient endurance makes us spiritually fit to “fight the good fight” (2Timothy 4:7).
Our troubles may prevent us from following a course in life that was our will to follow. Instead, we have to put ourselves in God’s hands, trust him, and let him do with us what he wills. “For it is God who is at work in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-16).
“The Father of mercies, and God of all comfort, comforts us in all our affliction. With this comfort from God, we ourselves will be able to comfort others who are in any affliction” (2Corinthians 1:3-7). By patient enduring and waiting upon God, we receive supernatural help from Him. We become a beacon of hope for other sufferers.
If I said that a flower grows only by fertiliser, and only by water, and only by sunlight, you would get confused. What I should say is that a flower grows not only by fertiliser but also by water and sunlight. That makes sense. If fertiliser, water, and sunlight are required for growth, the flower won’t grow on one of those alone. It will grow not only by one, but also by the other two.
Some people say that a person is saved by grace alone. But they also say we are saved by faith alone. And they will also add that we are saved by the redemptive work of Christ alone. That is confusing, because if grace, faith, and Christ save us, these three, then how can one of them alone save us? We ought to say not only by grace but also by faith and the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross. These three are essential, so we are not saved by grace only, nor by faith only, nor by the cross only.
These three are not the complete list of things that the Bible says we are saved by. But they are the ones to which the word “only” is commonly attached, so for the sake of simplicity, we will just leave the list incomplete at these three for now.
Now I could say something like, “Jesus is the only way to heaven” or, “I can be saved only if I believe in Christ” or “I cannot be saved by any means other than God’s grace” These statements are true, but they do not mean that I deny as essential all the things associated with Jesus, or his sacrifice, or my faith, or God’s grace.
I mean that there is no other way to be saved than to be saved by grace. But there are many things associated with grace. There is the cross, the gospel, faith and obedience, repentance, perseverance, hope, love, prayer… The list is long. Do you dare say that any of these is unnecessary? Do you dare say that any one of them alone will save?
Notice the subtlety here. When one says, “Salvation is by grace alone and nothing else” we can understand that statement in two ways. It is ambiguous. We might understand it to mean that naked grace saves us, unconditional grace without any other thing attached. Or we might take “grace” to include all that is associated with it, grace with all its conditions.
The first meaning is a wicked doctrine. It would exclude even the cross of Christ and it would not require sin to be repudiated. The Devil loves that meaning, and he is welcome to it! The second meaning is true, but why express it ambiguously? Why not say something like, “We cannot be saved by any means other than God’s grace and all its conditions”? That is clearer.
We can make this even clearer. God would save no one by grace if Christ had not obeyed God even unto death. That was a condition of grace. God would save no one by grace if they did not receive Christ crucified by faith and obedience to his commandments. That is a condition of grace. Could we stop talking about grace alone and unconditional grace? Could we go back to saying “Not only but also”?
I’ve been working with Windows 10, and all the former Windows since about Windows 98. Since my old Windows notebook is rather too old, I bravely decided to change to Apple. I have a newer small Windows 10 notebook which works fine. So having a big Apple to go with it seemed sensible. For one thing, I could check how Safari and the OS X handled the simplybible.com site.
The Apple Mac I’m now using as my main machine is an iMac (Retina 4K, 21.5-inch, Late 2015). Very nice, however I’m not going to be silly and compare Apple to Microsoft when the computer running Windows is cheap and small and the iMac is well up range.
People say about Apple, “It just works”. Well I doubted that, but I was happy enough to go by the 80/20 rule. If it works 80% of the time and makes me mad 20% of the time, that would be fine. Windows does that. All the computers I’ve ever owned, even my Sinclair ZX81, did that.
So I set the iMac on my desk and started the setup. I was pretty confident because I had just set up an Apple notebook for my wife to replace her Windows Vista. In both setups there were a number of instances where I could have got stuck. It was a very Windows experience.
Setting up the user and admin accounts was awkward, but connecting to wireless was real easy. The keyboard and mouse with the iMac “just worked”. I guess they are bluetooth which, as far as I am concerned, may as well be called voodoo.
I plugged in a USB and dragged a folder to my desktop. The Finder seemed as good as Windows Explorer. One thing I loved at first sight is the old fashioned but sensible drop down menu strip at the top of the screen which reflects the app currently in use.
Next my attention turned to my two workhorses: a decent text editor and an FTP client. There is no OS X version of the clever Notepad++ so I tried TextWrangler. For a free text editor it is impressive. It wouldn’t launch a file in Safari, but accepted a tiny apple script and now it will. Getting Wrangler to soft word-wrap by default was in the 20% category, but there’s plenty of information available on TextWrangler, so that made me see the light. As for FTP, I was delighted that FileZilla was available for Mac. Downloaded and working in ten minutes. That’s in the 80% category.
So with the needed apps now available to me, I was able to get back to productive work on the website. Writing and marking up a new lesson was a smiley experience. I was also glad to see that Microsoft OneDrive worked for me through Safari, so my Windows notebook can receive new and updated files without messing with USBs.
On simplybible.com there are many good LESSONS ON THE GRACE OF GOD to help you understand this extremely important topic.
I came across this article about grace and whether grace means we don’t have to worry about sin. It’s worth reading. A lot of thought and careful interpretation of scripture has gone into it.
The figures for simplybible.com page views over the last quarter of 2015 continued to be high. For October 137,031; for November 124,822, and for December 106,208 (source Awstats). That is, once again, an average per month of more than 100,000 pageviews. By November 2015, page views for the year had passed one million, and by year’s end reached 1,208,706. We thank the Lord for such interest world wide.