Tuesday, December 19, 2017

One Little Sparrow

My Kind Family and Heavenly Father
written by Joshua Coffman

Curious children crowded around the puddle in the middle of the playground. There was a little bird who had just broken it’s wing. It had hopped to the puddle to get a drink of water. The children encouraged it to fly away but it wasn’t able to because of the broken bones in it’s wing.

Jessica wanted to help but she didn’t know how to fix a bird wing. She thought it would be best to let her parents know. They were still in the church building. She ran inside to get some help.

Her mother was talking to some other adults and Jessica politely told her mother that there was a bird with a broken wing in the playground. Her mother immediately went to go help and some of the other adults came to help as well.

Outside, mother wrapped the bird in a small towel and brought the bird into their car. Father was already there ready to drive them to the wildlife center. They knew that the bird would be taken care of there.

Jessica’s older sister helped bring the bird into the center and they were assured that the bird would get better. As they drove away, Father reminded them of the Bible verse that says: “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.”

They drove home and while they ate lunch, Jessica thought more about the bird. She decided to read about all different kinds of birds, all shapes and sizes. They had picture books that told about the birds and where they lived and what color their eggs were. She thought it was interesting now.

Some birds even couldn’t fly at all, even with their wings not broken.

Several weeks later, Mother got a phone call from the wildlife refuge. The bird’s wing was fully healed and they] were going to release the bird back into the wild. Later that night, when Father came home, they drove to the wildlife refuge and they all watched as Jessica opened the bird cage and let the little bird fly away.

They all clapped and afterward they went to celebrate God’s healing power by eating ice cream. Jessica was glad that the bird was healed but was sad that it flew away never to be seen again. She wondered where it’s nest was. She knew that it was just an animal though.

She was happy that her family was the type of family that cared about other people. They were so kind that they even helped take care of little animals. And Jessica thought God would act the same way, even HE would take care of the little animals. And if she ever got into a tough situation, she knew that she could rely on God and her family to help her heal and make it through.


Monday, December 18, 2017

Secure Your Money

Three Ways to Keep Your Money Safer Online
written by Joshua Coffman

I personally think that all of us should move away from traditional banking to decentralized “currencies” like Bitcoin, but since many people still use traditional banking, I wanted to talk about a couple different things to help keep my family and friends’ finances secure.

1. Use an entirely separate device for online banking.

At first this sounds outlandish, but it illustrates a point that if you have very little security education, you often outsource your security to other people. Expecting your Windows operating system, your browser, and your device itself to operate securely is just asking to be hacked.

And in the decade where we each have several devices already, making one exclusively used for online banking should be a relatively easy decision, even if it takes discipline.

So, WHY? you may ask. If you use your device for basically anything else, or if anyone else has any type of access to the device and can view or download pornography, your device will most definitely have some type of malware. Basically a virus. Get a passcode, educate anyone that has access to that passcode about your new commitment to security, and use discipline to only use that device for your banking.

2. Don’t reuse passwords, usernames, or even security questions

So, this is another difficult paradigm to get used to, but any reuse of information online opens you up to a myriad of attacks. People can fish for information from you to gain access to your accounts, this is a special type of information spying, called “phishing.”

Never reuse passwords. In fact, I recommend if you have a small online presence, writing down the passwords you use, even for Facebook, and securely locking them away. Don’t put them in a book behind the desk where snooping people can gain access to them. Even if you trust everyone in your home, your information is too valuable to leave vulnerable in that way.

If you have a larger online presence and use more than 5-10 passwords (which is most of us nowadays), I would recommend getting familiar with password managers. Encrypted password managers. Encrypted password managers that reside on your device, not the cloud. For sure, do NOT save your passwords in a file on your computer or on a service like Dropbox.

At the writing of this article, I recommend 1Password. But like I said, you shouldn’t take my word for it necessarily.

But let’s talk about the tricky one, security questions. Online applications have a habit of asking you personal questions that supposedly “only you” should be able to remember. But now that most of our lives are online cough  Facebook cough  even those intimate details are no longer secure enough to use.

Instead of telling the truth on those “security questions,” I recommend making answers up and making different answers for each service that you use. Keep track of your answers in your password manager.

3. Immediately stop using anything but Google Chrome.

Mozilla Firefox used to be a recommended web browser but even that is no longer considered “safe” by many in the security industry. And if you are using Internet Explorer or even Edge, you are leaving yourself wide open to attack.

Google Chrome is especially safe, especially if you make sure that you close it down every day. This allows it to update constantly. I’ll spare you the details on how it keeps you especially safe, but as long as you aren’t using it’s password save function, Google Chrome is my recommended browser to stay secure.


If you implement these three things immediately, you will be safer from hackers. But there are plenty of people out there that want to take advantage of you and steal your money. I have a friend who is pretty savvy with technology and he wasn’t careful with a new program he downloaded, and he ended up losing over $10,000 from not paying close enough attention to his security.

Please, please, please… Take personal responsibility for your security. Don’t outsource security to your bank, your cousin or your spouse. Take responsibility for your valuables, including your personal information.


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