Tag Archives: choices

Screen Suggestions for Students

Screen Suggestions for Students

Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

Philippians 4:5

Screen suggestions for students, well, perhaps more for the parents of students.  All of us have noticed the exponential leap of digital devices creeping into our lives.  I like the new devices.  The digital things, screens of all sizes, and new tech can be terrific.  But at some point, we can have too much of a good thing.

Paul was telling the believers at Philippi that moderation should clearly be part of their lives.  We can go overboard – even with good things.  Balance is needed in every area of the Christian life.  If we are not careful the stuff we have will control us!

Here are some ideas to help moderate the tech stuff of life:

  1. Ensure your child gets a full night of rest, have a media basket for all the cell phones and connected devices to rest at night.  The temptation to communicate, surf, and feed possible addictions become less when a device is not accessible at night.  Even if music or other things are used on a device to help a child go to sleep, it seems like a short-sighted fix.  We should avoid being dependent on anything or anyone other than Jesus and His Word.
  2. Increase your child’s GPA; get rid of the smart phone.  With an increase of smart device use, the need for learning and knowing stuff for yourself tends to decrease.  A study came out recently suggesting that students learn better from print on paper books.  Even the talented people who create these devices and software do not allow their kids to have much screen time.  They buy their kids printed books.
  3. Work on social skills.  When children are visiting your home, have a phone basket for the phones to go in.  Have you noticed that with all the social media that people are actually less social in real life settings?
  4. Teach your children the sacredness of worship by instructing them to not play on devices while at the church building.  Turn them off.  A print Bible has less possible distractions than a digital one.
  5. Some have gone back to flip phones or what I call “dumb phones.”  These phones revert back to the whole reason for a phone to begin with – calling and texting.  It is good for children to know how to use devices without letting those devices control them.
  6. We do allow our kids to have “tablet time” but it is limited with time increments and we do not only monitor, but we know all of the programs that we have installed on those devices.  Parents cannot be too careful in guiding their children to enable and equip them for making right decisions.
  7. Much of these principles can be applied to video games and screens of any size as well.

I hope these suggestions will help you find a healthy balance.  Do you have several others?  Post them here and they may be re-posted for others to see…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I Can’t Juggle

juggler 4I Can’t Juggle

All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits. Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.  Proverbs 16:2-3

Years ago, I learned the “art” of juggling…. Well a little.  I was never that good at it. I could juggle 3 hackee sack balls ok – in the right conditions.  I had to stand still, look up, and watch out for throwing the ball in the direction of other people! Needless to say, I can’t juggle.  The same can be said when we try to live life without the Lord.  There are so many “balancing” issues we face and without he priorities of the Lord – we will “Drop the ball.”

Life can be a “juggling act!”   There is so much to do, and seemingly so little time to do it in.  Many people are so consumed with things, stuff, and opportunities of life that life itself gets out of balance and they begin to “drop the ball.”  This post is for you.  Be challenged and encouraged to streamline the juggling motions of life.

Like Proverbs 16:2-3 says, “The ways of a man are clean in his own eyes.”  Our choices, decisions, and priorities can all be justified – humanly speaking.  You can give a “good reason” for why you do what you do or don’t do what you don’t do.  Self-justification is a terribly effective habit of the natural man.

At the same time, verse 3 tells us that when we commit our works to God, our thoughts will be established.  That is, when we are making decisions based on a “God Priority”, then our decisions will be blessed.  When God blesses our decisions, life is less complicated, choices are easier to make, and perspective of what is truly important comes into a clearer view.

How can I start to “juggle” life in proper balance?  Here are some Scripturally simplified ideas:

  1. Be still, and know that I am God: Psalm 46:10a
    1. Stop everything at specific moments of each day and each week.
    2. Daily Bible reading and prayer, should be consistent in life.
    3. Church attendance should be a regular part of your week. Plan around church, don’t plan church around the other stuff.
    4. Life becomes too hectic when we do not take time to be still and know that God is God.
  2. He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch. Proverbs11:28
    1. Seeking what is right is better than seeking more money. We do not work to get money anyway – we work to glorify the Lord and to gain the ability to “give to him that needed.”  Ephesians 5:28
    2. When we are working for money we look sight of the greater picture that everything we do should be under the auspices of “the glory of God.1 Corinthians 10:31
    3. Ask the Lord to help you control your work schedule instead of allowing your work schedule to control you. This is something I learned from my parents as a teenager when they had me mowing lawns or clearing snow, remodeling buildings, instead of flipping burgers or checking people out at a checkout line.
    4. The riches will not last – but right choices last a lifetime and for all eternity!
  3. The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall. Proverbs 10:8
    1. “Know it all’s” talk a lot and do not listen well for how to improve their life. They drop the ball because they are attempting things they want to do, or think they can do, but have not consulted the Lord or learned people.
    2. Have you noticed those struggling the most in the “juggling act of life” are generally the ones who are trying to live life on their own. God is not a priority, His input is not welcome.  Other people’s encouragement and admonition is rejected.  Some people drop the ball and do not even notice!
    3. The wise in heart receives the Bible to make balanced changes in his life.
  4. The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness. Proverbs 11:5
    1. Making right choices can become a lifestyle pattern.
    2. Notice how the mature Christian will allow what is right to direct his way. When he makes a right choice now – it makes it easier for him to make a right choice tomorrow.  Before long a singular good choice will become a whole string of good choices that then becomes a pattern for living.
    3. The more consistent a person is with right choices, the better he will be at juggling life!

Be encouraged to trust your path to the Lord.  Avoid juggling life on your own apart from the Lord.  Don’t drop the ball!  Incorporate Godly reasoning in every decision you make.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Direction of the Mind

The Direction of the Mind

Remember the old cartoons on Saturday mornings and some character saying “Which way did he go? Which way did he go?”  Was that Bugs Bunny?  You may remember.

“Which way will you go?” is the question for today.  There are definite paths our minds can go.  The direction your mind is leading you is of incredible importance.

But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?   25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. Romans 7:23-25

There are two paths at the intersection of life that each person faces every day.  One path is going the direction God maps out in the Bible.  The other path is heading in the direction the world/flesh draws up – away from the direction of God.

The Apostle Paul was not exempt from this decision making battle between his natural man (The Flesh) and the Spiritual Mind that was given him when he became a Christian and received the new nature (Spiritual Mind) from the Lord.  The spiritual side of Paul was constantly in a war with the carnal or fleshly side of Paul.  We have the same sin nature and the same spiritual nature he had.

Lewis Sperry Chafer was clearly right when he stated, “Nothing could be more misdirected than a self-directed life.”

There are two possible responses when confronted with the choice of “Which way to go?”  There is no middle ground in between these two paths.  Some believe they can strike out on their own and make their own path back to the Lord, but the terrain is tough and not navigable. It is better to get on God’s path, or when prompted by the Lord, jump back on his path.

Path One:  A Reacting Mind.  This “Reacting Mind” reacts to the desires of the flesh.  Its primary power comes from the engine of lust.  The body can lust for good things such as air, food, water, and even sex.  When moderation or the boundaries are broken for these blessings, it becomes sin.  For example, sex within the boundary of marriage is wholesome, fulfilling, and terrific!  Sex outside of the protection marriage becomes enslaving, and may even cause feelings of guilt and depression.

The Reacting Mind does what it feels like it wants to do.  It is captive to the flesh of the person and to the influences of the world around him.  Have you even been in a car when the driver “jerks the wheel” in attempt to not miss an off ramp off the highway?  That fast reaction is caused by not anticipating, or looking far enough ahead.  The reacting mind is many times impulsive too.

Path Two: The Ruled Mind.  The Ruled Mind responds to the leading of the Spirit of God.  It is not controlled by lust, but by love.  This mind is submissive to the Word of God.  While the Ruled Mind knows it is in a fast paced battle, it is active and fore-thinking to avoid sin, watch out for an arrogant spirit, and to steer clear of pride each day.

The Ruled Mind is determined to live out the Word of God each day in all its decisions and determinations.  This mind is thinking of “how to please Jesus” instead of “how to please self.”  Instead of reacting in tough situations, it is ruled by the patient Spirit of God and calmly makes the right decision.

Ask the Lord to help you have a mind ruled by the Spirit of God and the Word of God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “Letting” of the Mind

The “Letting” Mind

“When James Calvert went out as a missionary to the cannibals of the Fiji Islands, the ship captain tried to turn him back, saying, “You will lose your life and the lives of those with you if you go among such savages.” To that, Calvert replied, “We died before we came here.”” (Ministry127)

Why would a man say that when facing a potential life and death situation?  He was thinking like Jesus.  He had the “mind of God.”

The word “let” is a verb defined as “not prevent or forbid; allow.”  The Scripture tells us to “let” the mind of Christ – Jesus Himself be in us.  What we think, how we think, and why we think is to be placed under the influence and direction of Jesus.  If we are not careful, we let a lot of worldly or wrong thinking impact our mind.  We must allow the mind of Christ to help us navigate life and not allow the world to do our thinking for us.

Have you “let” the mind of God to control your thoughts?  Will you let the mind of Jesus control your thinking today?

Our word “let” is found in Philippians 2:5-8 which teaches, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

The mind of Jesus will lead us to four ways of thinking:

  1. A real humility about self.
  2. A sincere priority of pleasing our God.
  3. A vibrant call to serve others.
  4. A willingness to give your life to the Lord.

Do any of these thinking perspectives ring true in your life?  Consider the “what, how, and why” that your mind is thinking.  Ask the Lord to help you think like Jesus.  From the moment you “let” all your decisions and thought processes will filter through the Word of God and the Will of God.  Like missionary Calvert, your mind can think like Jesus – all to the glory of God.

 

 

 

 

 

Emergencies and Tragedies

Emergencies and Tragedies

One story I have read and enjoy very much is a story is “told of a zoo that was noted for their great collection of different animals. One day the gorilla died, and to keep up the appearance of a full range of animals, the zookeeper hired a man to wear a gorilla suit and fill in for the dead animal. It was his first day on the job, and the man didn’t know how to act like a gorilla very well. As he tried to move convincingly, he got too close to the wall of the enclosure and tripped and fell into the lion exhibit. He began to scream, convinced his life was over…until the lion spoke to him: “Be quiet, or you’re going to get us both fired!”

There are many emergency situations that may arise in life.  Storms, tornadoes, hurricanes and flooding will take their toll.  Earthquakes, forest fires, and even volcanoes create much distress, problems, and each are potential life and death scenarios.

Depending on where you live a “natural disaster” may be more likely to unfold.  Having safety plans and survival plans is advised.  Today we also have the added possibility of a deranged, depressed, or demon filled attacker.  Violent attacks ranging from guns and knives to cars and even blunt objects are all possible.

Those are real emergencies. Most of us will experience relatively few true “emergencies” in life.  A majority of the time, what we are more likely to encounter are “tragedies.”  We see this especially in the areas of relationships, priorities in life, and spiritual formation.

Unlike emergencies, that can unfold rapidly, tragedies are events that are slowly unfolding in life.  For example:  a teenager who leaves home saying he “hates God, the Bible, and church” is not an emergency – he is a tragedy.  He did not wake up one day with the impression that he was against everything his parents stood for.  It took time.  An evil attitude was nurtured over time.  Sinful thinking and warped thinking was not only tolerated, but allowed to grow over time.

Emergencies need a quick response, while tragedies (while still urgent) will take some time to unravel and correct.  Please note that repentance and turning a life around all starts with one good decision, but it takes time to adjust a lifetime of sinful choices or bad habits.

Proverbs 3 teaches about wisdom.  Wisdom is personified in this passage.  Each person must decide to keep his or her eyes on wisdom.  She will help you to not stumble, fall, or be in a place where great trouble will capture you.

Proverbs 3:21-26 instructs, “My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion: 22 So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. 23 Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble. 24 When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.  25 Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. 26 For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.”

If we keep our eyes on wisdom, it makes it harder for us to “fall off a cliff.”  Why?  Because wisdom will not let you get near the cliff to begin with.

Falling off a cliff would be an emergency.  Plunging down 65 feet off a rock face would be disastrous – but it is an emergency that is predicated by a tragedy.  The tragedy in this case is a life of wrong thinking, unwise decisions, and a heart that is slowly walking away from wisdom and away from the Lord.

There are many tragedies unfolding in the lives of people all around us.  Seemingly “insignificant” choices that are rooted in selfishness more than the Spirit of God, may seem innocent, but they do bring a person closer to the cliff.

  • A child may think “It is just a drink or a smoke” but that brings them closer to an emergency of an overdose on some other drug.
  • A man may think “it is just one magazine or website” but it is a slow path to addiction in his mind and isolation in relationships.
  • A woman may think “it is just a few dollars more” for coffee, tea, or some other fancy and expensive pleasure, but it could lead to mismanagement of finances leaving a person’s savings account bankrupt.

By The Way:  Poor choices are not just about plain sin.  Sometimes the innocent pleasures that are prioritized above Bible principles can become sin to us. Wisdom assesses each scenario and helps you to avoid tripping and falling.  The Apostle Paul suggested this in 1 Corinthians 6:12 “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”  Just “Because I can” does not make it a good choice.

Please avoid making every decision based on emotion, drama, or selfishness.  Be aware that the mundane, daily choices are the most significant of choices for direction (towards wisdom or away from wisdom) that will determine if you have an emergency or not.

No one intends to create personal emergencies in life.  They develop as “tragedies” over the course of time.  Tragedies are happening all around us.  Be sure your life is not a tragedy.  Remember Shakespeare?  He wrote what literary students call “Tragedies.”  Those writings include: “Antony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet.  Many people have been entertained by these “Tragedies” over the years.  Purpose to not let your life be mere entertainment for Satan or the world.  Your life should not be a “play thing” or amusement for evil people. Make the daily decision to apply God’s wisdom to your life today.  Keep your eyes on God’s wisdom.

 

 

 

 

Scripture Shaping

Scripture Shaping

I have always found amusing the scenario the Sadducees connived in their minds and spoke to Jesus about.  This story they dream up is funny in several ways.  Read on.

The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.”  Matthew 22:23-29

After the second or third brother married her, you would think the next brother in line would hesitate or wonder, “What is she feeding him?”  The next brother would ask: “What did she do to him?” or “how did he die?”  or “Does she have a knife or poison?”  You would think that by the time the seventh brother is to be married to her, he would be running the other direction.  How old is this woman?  How old are the brothers?  It is a statistically unlikely story.  It is one they made up in an effort to trap Jesus in His teachings.

The Sadducees were the some of the most wealthy and ultra-educated people of Israel.  They had a conceit and arrogance about them.  They denied anything supernatural such as: the resurrection, rewards for doing good, and even denied that angels existed.  They were frequently in quarrels with the Pharisees who believed in the supernatural.   The Sadducees adhered to the Law of Moses while the Pharisees added oral tradition to the Laws of Moses.

After Jesus took to task the Pharisees and said: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s” the Sadducees thought they could trip Jesus up with their unusual question about marriage and “who’s” wife will this woman be in Heaven?”

Interesting to note:  These religious people did not believe in the resurrection.  They did not believe in Heaven or Hell.  They are trying to get Jesus to say something that would confirm their faulty belief system.  If they could get Jesus to say there is no Heaven or Hell, that could help them undermine His ministry.

Notice how Jesus responds in Mathew 22:29-33.  Jesus says that in the resurrection and by extension – in Heaven, people are not given to each other in marriage.  Think about how the church is the bride of Christ.  There is no need for individual marriage in Heaven like we need on earth for a help meet and “completion.”  Jesus continues to talk about the resurrection and says that “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”  These Sadducees were “astonished” at His doctrine.  And rightly so.  Jesus is always right.

Before His explanation of their contrived dilemma – Jesus says in verse 29: “Ye do err, now knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.”   They asked a foolish question.  Their pre-suppositions were faulty.  Their thinking on the matter was not right.  An entire paradigm for life was incorrect because they did not know the Bible.

Could it be that as modern Christians we do err, not knowing the Scriptures?  Look in your own life to the times when you made a bad choice.  Could it be that you are so proud to not even admit a wrong choice?  When the bad choices were made and the outcome was not what you hoped and the problem grew worse – could it have been because you did not know the Scriptures?

Our minds need the refinement of God’s Word.  This is an everyday process to let the Word of God develop your mind.  Let the lines of the Bible write on and guide the thoughts of your mind.

We could call this the “Scripture Shaping” of the mind.  How many times have you reasoned in your mind selfishly instead of Scripturally?  How many times have you tried to beat a bad habit or a sinful habit and failed? Our minds and desires err when we do not know the Scripture.

These affluent, educated, and socialized men could not think right.  We can have similar issues today.

Self-justification, ill-rationalization, and incoherent thinking are directly impacted and informed by what we know – or do not know.  I encourage you to let the Scriptures Shape your thinking. We err when we do not know the Scriptures.