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Teach the Tongue

Teach the Tongue

Powerful.  Life Changing. Incredible.  Sometimes, not saying anything is priceless!  How many times do our words, though seemingly innocent, get us into trouble, or hurt other people?  How many times do our words encourage, edify and help those around us?  How many Christians are really living like Proverbs teaches.

As the school year winds down, finals are administered, and teachers get a restful summer break, what have you and I learned during the school year.  When a family has school aged children the year seems to revolve around the school session schedule.  So, for this year, what have you learned?  Have math skills increased?  Has science and history been your thing?  How much better is your handwriting?

More importantly, what character traits have grown?  What spiritual steps have been taken this year?  What decisions for serving the Lord have you made?

Recently, our family was reading though proverbs and the following 2 verses stood out to me personally.

  • The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips. Proverbs 16:23
  • Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.  Proverbs 17:7

What have you taught your mouth?  Taught what?  The wise man or woman, son or daughter, will teach his mouth to say only good things.  Not always will be win this battle, but again, the wise teacheth his mouth.  His lips are guided with learning.  No-one wants to talk the fool, or speak foolishly.  Verbal discipline is a requirement and expectation for the Christian life.

Notice how to not become a fool in Proverbs 17:7.  Excellent speech will not result in a person being a fool.  One paramount, pinnacle lesson each person must learn is the value of their words.  Empty speech, useless conversation, angry words, and bad themes to talk about are not worth talking about!   There are some things we should not waste our breath on!  Here are some ideas to help these verse be true in your life.

  1. Teach or control your mouth.  Take a breath before you speak.  Pray for God to help you say the right things to the right people, the right way, with the right attitude.
  2. Keep learning. Be around good speaking.  Avoid listening to cursing, gossip, or evil communication.  Be aware of the impact of social media and the “Friends” you follow have on you and your speaking.  The people we listen to and look to will inform our mind which in turn impacts what we say or do not say.
  3. Expect more.  Don’t allow negative, selfish, and evil speaking in your home.  Have excellent speech.  Make or create time to talking at the dinner table, in the car, and on the porch.  The more excellent speech that is expected, the least likely you and your children will be in becoming a fool.  Don’t allow useless talk in your home.
  4. Be upfront.  Notice how verse 7 says a person with lying lips will not become a prince.  It is not likely that a lying person is ever truly successful and like a prince in life.  It is less likely than a person who says good things to turn out to be a fool.
  5. Set down the phone.  I read recently that teenagers spend more time on their cell phone than they spend time with their parents. Texting, facebook, twitter, Instagram, video games, snap-chat and more has not increased real life talking!  Learn to set the phone or device down and carry on a real conversation with someone.  Teach yourself good conversation habits.

Make application in your own home and in your own life-stage.  How are you doing?  Have you taught your tongue yet?  It is an area that we must continue to learn and grow in.  We never arrive with our words.  Keep growing in excellent communication!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Window to the Heart

The Window to the Heart

Starvation. Hunger. Disease. Devastation. Death. Jeremiah’s heart was broke.  As he was looking around at the war-ravaged city of Jerusalem he saw pain, sorrow and suffering.  His eyes perceived the damage the Babylonian siege had caused.  His heart was impacted by what he saw visually with his eyes.  It is against this background we have this verse: Mine eye affecteth mine heart because of all the daughters of my city. (Lamentations 3:51)

In the middle of Jeremiah’s lamentation, he shares a universal truth that can be applied to every area of life.  IF you are blessed with eyesight, the application of this verse can change your life.

What we look at impacts our heart.  What we gaze upon influences our brain.  What we stare at informs our decisions.  The human eye can be the window of the heart. Here are several examples:

  • If I constantly “window shop” my heart will grow discontent with what I do not have – yet.
  • If I continually scroll through Amazon, my heart will desires things I may never truly need.
  • If a look at a beautiful person is nurtured and cuddled in my mind, it could become lust in my heart. Longing for someone that does not “belong” to us is sin – according to Jesus.
  • If I watch lots of TV or are constantly online, my eyes will see thousands of commercials that are designed to “pull at my heart strings” to cause me to buy their product. I tend to chuckle when I see doctor commercials: “Get sick so you can see me.” Or funeral home ads: “If you die, we can help!”
  • Media studies suggest that Americans see between 4,000 and 10,000 ads each day. (redcrowmarketing.com) “Mine eye affected mine heart” is a truth believed by advertising agencies. They have believed it for years.
  • Have you ever become hungry after seeing a commercial for a restaurant, soda, or chocolate?  It could be be after all your meals for the day, but the impact of the eye affects your heart – and your stomach.

What are you looking at?  Who are you looking to?  Where you keep your eyes focused is eventually where your heart will lead you.  That is why it is paramount to keep your eyes on Jesus.  As Hebrews 12:2 says, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.  Keep you focus on Jesus.

  • Do you find yourself unsatisfied in life? Look to Jesus.
  • Do you find yourself “wanting more” things this world offers? Get your eyes off the stuff and look to Jesus.
  • Do you find yourself without direction and purpose? Stop looking at the wrong things and get your eyes on Jesus.

Let what you look at impact your heart to cause a better view of Jesus.  Clean up the windowsill of your heart.  Guard your eyes.  Be disciplined with the TV.  Direct the eyes of your kids. Set Jesus in the window of your life (your eyes) and let your heart follow Him.

Find contentment in Jesus.

 

 

 

Media Moderation

Media Moderation

And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.  I Corinthians 9:25

Most people have some form of connection to the internet and social media today.  With mobile phones, and tablets of all kinds, we are living in a wirelessly connected world.  How does it affect the human brain and body?  How does the constant connections with other “digital people” in a virtual world affects us and our children?

Dr. Keith Ablow, a secular news commentator with articles frequently posted on Fox writes:  “For some time now, I have noted that young people— including adolescents, teenagers and those in their 20s— are disconnected from the reality of their own existences. Facebook, Twitter, Tinder and the like have made them think of themselves as mini-reality-TV versions of themselves. Too many of them see their lives as a series of flickering photos or quick videos. They need constant doses of admiration and constant confirmation of their tenuous existence, which come in the form of Facebook “likes” and Twitter “retweets.”

This substitution of media for real meaning has not only been shown to weaken their self-esteem and their ability to sustain themselves through adversity, but it can cheapen the value they assign to life in general— including their own lives. If all the world is a stage of pixels, and young people see themselves as their tweets and Snapchat photos, then taking a fist-full of pills could seem like no more than the equivalent of shutting down a Facebook account or turning off an iPhone.  Call it, “Suicide by Social Media.””

Dr. Ablow is on to something.

Recently our family eye doctor told us there has been an uptick of children getting glasses sooner than normal.  Their eyes are adjusting differently than generations past because they are so accustomed to holding a screen inches from their eyes.  We are a new society focused primarily on the next image on our little screens.

“Moderation” is a good word for diet and eating, but also for our media consumption.

1 Corinthians 9:25 is a terrific verse to know and apply to our everyday lives.  “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.”

If the athlete is “training for the mastery” he is limiting the outside distractions that would hinder him from becoming a master as his particular sport.  This is why we hear of sensational athletes choosing one sport over another sport.  It is so they can become a professional at one sport and be the best they can be at it.  One may decline football so he can become better at basketball.

The Lord gives us the answer here concerning the amount of time and attention we give to social media.  While we are social creatures, our primary reason for being alive today is to glorify the Lord and to make Him known.  We are to serve Him and tell others about Him.  One good use of social media is to tell others the Gospel.

However, the teenager and adult whose nerves are pulsating with heart beating, waiting for the next “like” or “friend” have their spiritual and emotional heart in the wrong place.  As Christians we find our fulfillment in Jesus; both emotionally and spiritually.

Here are some ideas to help:

  • Control social media; do not let social media control you. Sometimes the things we love most take the most time.  Give more time to the Lord.
  • Embrace face to face relationships and value the person in front of you more than a screen. Turn off the screen, look someone in the eye.  Open your mouth and say something.  Give a moment for a response and listen with your ears. Repeat.  I have to practice this too!
  • Turn off the device, tv, or cell phone at night. Some choose to not have the source of temptation close to them, to help them get away from it for a bit.  This is a good way to “rest the nerves” if you are inclined to wait for the next social endorsement.
  • Children and teens should not have access at night. Help your teens with this.  Avoid allowing them to take a phone or computer in their room at night.  Many tweens and teens with cell phones report a lack of sleep primarily caused by tapping on a screen most of the night.  Most trouble today with teens is caused or contributed to by unrestrained social media.  Set limits for your kids.
  • Moderation goes a long way. Some mothers gush and blush in front of face-book while their child is crying or their attention.  Some dads sit or snooze in front of a screen while there kids need time with him.  Set limits for yourself too.
  • Know the score. Know who your kids are talking to.  It happens too often; a young person runs off with a stranger they met on social media and end up abused or dead.  I read about it happening again last week.  Know and keep access to both the device and the accounts of your kids and your spouse.  Yes, spouses should share this information.

Always know: Our value does not come from how many “likes”, “friends” or “connections” we make.   Colossians 2:10 is such a helpful verse that builds our esteem and value:  “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.”

We are valuable to God because we are created in His image.  Jesus loves you.

When we turn to social media for emotional satisfaction, in a way, we are creating false idols that we hope will meet our needs.  Our spiritual and emotional needs are only truly met in Jesus.  “Moderation” is a good for diet and eating, but also for our media consumption.

How is your media moderation today?  Too much?  Need to control it better?

Be bold to make the recommended adjustments in your lifestyle.

Glorify the Lord with how you utilize social media this week.