Featured

Social Media Use By Christians-Does the End Justify the Means?

Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com

I read an article today about a boycott that is being championed by a group of celebrities against Instagram whose parent company is Facebook. These celebrities are encouraging everyone who has an account on the Instagram platform to “freeze” their account for one day. The reason being is they don’t believe that Facebook has done enough to curtail the spread of racism, hate and political disinformation on either platform. Kim Kardashian West (who is reported to have 188 million Instagram followers by the way) is being joined by other entertainment heavy weights including Leonardo Dicaprio and Katy Perry in the quest. But shouldn’t this also apply to objectionable language and nudity. What about abortion and sexual immorality? For some reason these aren’t ever called out unless your opinion is on the opposite side of the prevailing progressive ideology.

I’m not writing this to debate the pros and cons of the one day freeze but to focus on social media use by Christians in general. Social media platforms have positives such as being able to connect with people from all over the world and share our all so important opinions about anything and everything under the sun. They also have negatives such as being able to connect to people all over the world and share our all so important opinions about anything and everything under the sun. There is good and bad in many things but at what point does the bad outweigh the good? Should Christians refrain from utilizing social media even if it means not being able to reach greater numbers of people with the Message?

My thoughts on social media brought to mind the story of the Tower of Babel told in Genesis 11:19. In a nutshell the people of the world at the time all spoke the same language. They wanted to build a great city for themselves with a tower that reached to the sky to make them famous and prevent them from being scattered all of the world. When God saw this he didn’t like it reasoning if the people could do something so great, they could do anything else they put their minds to. He then scattered the people all over the world each with different language so they couldn’t understand each other.

In my opinion social media is like the Tower of Babel. It serves as a means for ” the people” to exalt themselves and to more easily build a consensus for ideas and beliefs that are in direct conflict to God’s Word. Users feel a camaraderie and consensus about things that they know in their hearts are wrong but feel justified in doing because they hear so many others telling them it’s okay. Much like Eve who didn’t go for the forbidden fruit until she had just one other being encourage it.

I really struggle with how I should utilize social media personally because platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter slant toward a more liberal point of view. Even Christian beliefs have been attacked as hateful in an attempt to censor the Word. I just feel if I’m on any of them, I’m helping their cause. On the other hand, this is actually the reality of everyday life. The world isn’t Christ loving but I still must trudge on. God called us to be in the world without being of the world. God doesn’t want us to close ourselves off from non-believers because then we can’t tell others about him.

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Featured

” I HATE Cancer!”

Photo by Akshar Dave on Pexels.com

Hate is a strong word and as Christians it isn’t one that should be used in most circumstances. But when it comes to cancer it is more than justified because it is a sin and we can hate sin just as God hates sin. The urge to write this came this morning. Last night I learned of the death of actor Chadwick Boseman, age 43, best known for bringing the super hero Black Panther to life. He had reportedly been battling colon cancer for the past four years. I didn’t know Chadwick personally so I don’t propose to have unique knowledge of his struggle with the disease. I do know that I had the same kick in the gut feeling I first experienced in 1978 when my maternal grandmother succumbed to lung cancer and again in 2005 when my mother died of gastric cancer only five months after being diagnosed. In between and since this period of time others in my life have sat with a doctor and received the news no one wants to hear. Some have emerged as survivors in the battle against it. Others lost their gallant fight. I hate cancer.

Cancer is an evil, a scourge, is unforgiving, merciless, a taker and a hater. The list of negative descriptors could go on and on but in the end, even as I shout figuratively and literally at the top of my lungs about my disdain for cancer, I know that it will continue to claim the hopes and dreams of it’s victims. It will continue to make family members and friends grieve at the loss of loved ones. Children will be left parentless. Many contributions that could have been made toward the betterment of society will be lost. I hate cancer.

So as I end this, with cancer hopefully knowing how much I hate it, I won’t sit idlily by and let it think it has won. Because it hasn’t won and will never win. I will continue to study my Bible, pray and hopefully and faithfully wait for Jesus’ return to this world. At that time all suffering will end (for all other diseases and sin) and we won’t have to cry anymore. There will be no more trials and pain. The world will be beautiful!

Photo by Unchalee Srirugsar on Pexels.com

We can find more about Jesus’ final coming in the Book of Revelation. When I initially read it I can say that it frightened me. Some of the imagery was scary. But as I have grown in my walk with Jesus, my trust, faith and belief has also grown. His promises are real and when he comes, nothing, not even cancer, will remain. So I will wait and say to cancer now “I don’t hate you anymore because you aren’t worth the time. My God is more powerful than you and even though you can take our earthly lives, you can’t take our eternal lives. Not from those who have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior. So there!”

More on Social Media….

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

This is a follow-up to my previous post titled Social Media Use By Christians-Does the End Justify the Means? This past weekend I watched a documentary-drama hybrid on Netflix entitled ‘The Social Dilemma’ which explores the dangers of social networking. What made it most interesting was that tech experts who actually contributed to the development of these various platforms express regret and raise the alarm about it’s impact on society. They inform on how big tech monitors and analyzes social media use to manipulate the way we behave, think and feel and is meant to be addictive in nature. One participant worried that the tool he helped to create could cause a civil war due to the polarization between people that’s been created under big tech’s watch. It’s no accident that more and more progressive views are constantly on the forefront. They know they can steer society’s thinking anyway they want through news stories, messaging, ads, ect.. So take a look at “The Social Dilemma’ if you can. It may not change your social media habits but at least you will have the facts.

The Definition of Insanity

Photo by Elly Fairytale on Pexels.com

There’s a famous quote by Albert Einstein that goes: “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.” Can anyone reading this relate? I am applying it to the professional aspect of my life. For the past twenty-seven years I have worked in the social work profession. Starting out in 1993, fresh out of graduate school, I was so bright-eyed and bushy tailed and convinced I could change the world of the needy and downtrodden with my new found knowledge. But guess what? It wasn’t that simple surprise surprise. Not only did the multitude and complexity of those peoples’ lives present a challenge but the “system” threw a wrench in my plans also. I didn’t know about the bevy of regulations, laws and guidelines that would limit and box in my ability to give what I thought the people I was helping needed.

Fast forward to the present and I am burned out and wondering how I am going to make it until I can retire in four years and three months. Most people would be happy to say they only have that much time until retirement and I am. But right now it seems like an eternity. So where does Einstein’s quote play into this?

It applies because over the course of over nearly twenty-years, I have started new job after new job hoping that I would finally find the one where everything would fall into place. I began in my current position three months ago and the same feelings that I experienced for the two years prior and, then four years prior to that and the seven years prior to this and the three years prior to that have all come back. Just four years before retirement I have come to the conclusion that it’s time for a change. I long to move on to others endeavors such as writing for my blog, taking yoga teacher training and traveling. I want to buy a little house near a lake to use as a retreat to get away from the hustle and bustle of large numbers of people and traffic. I want to be able to study the Bible, pray, meditate and journal at will. But I guess these will have to wait for now, although I can engage in these interests on a smaller scale. So, I will continue to work and do my very best to help those I serve.

I hope in saying all this that you won’t get caught in the same insanity I have. You see, deep down inside of me I knew I should go for another career twenty years ago. But I was afraid, felt that I would be giving up if I didn’t continue and talked myself out of it with many other excuses. But it is okay because I know the path ahead is bright and ripe with new opportunities and choices and there’s nothing insane about that. But most importantly, I feel the Lord’s hand guiding me toward this new life. I am not afraid.

Is a Sleep Divorce Right for Me?

Being married can be wonderful in that you get to share your life with “your person”. But sometimes there can be a bit too much sharing. I say this because many nights I can’t get to sleep in the bed I share with my husband. Why? Because he snores steadily and loudly throughout the night. There’s a sleep apnea machine on the floor that goes unused the majority of nights. He’s says it’s too uncomfortable. Suggestions from the doctor such as losing weight haven’t come to fruition. Then where does that leave me? I love him but I also love and a good night’s sleep.

Many couples are choosing sleep divorces where they sleep in separate beds in the same room or different rooms entirely. Improved sleep can lead to improved energy, mood, overall health and a better relationship. But is this the route I should take? I’m not sure. But something has to change. I’m not willing to sacrifice my health and well-being anymore but at the same time I wonder how my husband will feel about my departure from the bed we’ve shared for over twenty-five years.

I’ll write an update soon. Possibly in the middle of the night because I can’t sleep.

Maintaining Sanity in the Age of Covid19

 

full frame shot of text on wood
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Lately it seems that all we see and hear about on the news is Coronavirus 19. News casts are dedicating nearly every minute to the pandemic. They report on the rising number of confirmed cases and unfortunately deaths from this invisible enemy. Recently we have learned to “social distance” ourselves and that hand sanitizer is a hot commodity.  That we need hoards of toilet paper, cleaning products and non-perishables to survive. Even if this means that others will go without.

It’s easy to get discouraged and feel afraid when the world that we know has turned upside town. We can’t go about our lives as freely as before and must learn a new way of living.  It’s no longer about what’s best for the individual but what’s best for us all. Especially our most vulnerable populations.

Trials can be difficult and we would prefer not to have them. But trials are necessary to help us to grow. They bring our focus back to what’s important. We learn to endure when we experience trials which make us stronger and better ready for others that will surely come. They build our spiritual muscles.

Here are some ways to remain steady in our Hope and Faith in God right now:

  •  Make prayer a priority each day. Choose a dedicated time if you can and let God know how grateful you are for his love and mercy. Give thanks for all that’s been given by him. Pray for our leaders in government and church and for the world. Pray for your loved ones and friends.
  •  Listen to worship and praise music. Sing along and/or dance if you would like.
  • Pray with other believers. In person may not be possible now but you can arrange a conference call, a video chat or set a specific time when you can agree to pray at the same time. Matthew 18:20 – “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them”.
  • Don’t let your mind focus on the negative. What we put our energy into will grow.
  • Look for ways to help others. Grocery shop for someone who can’t go out or donate to a charity that helps the less fortunate. Many will become food and housing insecure as jobs are lost due to pandemic management.

Additionally make sure that you include activities that promote health and wellness.

  • Take a walk outside, practice yoga or dance by yourself or with family and friends.
  • Don’t zone out on the sofa watching television. Pick-up a book, play a board game or complete a puzzle.
  • Eat three balanced meals a day with a healthy snack. Don’t overindulge on junk food.
  • Drink enough water to stay hydrated.
  • Keep a regular routine. Get up and go to bed around the same time. Avoid watching television or trolling social media right before bed. Don’t let the last thing you see or read about be negative. This can cause restlessness.
  • Practice meditation. There are plenty of Apps for phones and videos on the internet where sessions can be accessed. Many are free or low cost.
  • Make sure you smile and engage in laughter. There’s an old saying that goes: “Laughter is the best medicine”.
  •   Keep a positive attitude.

God is here with us and on his throne. He’s in control. Let’s remember this so our fears don’t overtake us.

 

Waiting for God to Respond

Waiting can be difficult. It seems that everyday we have to wait whether it’s in slow traffic, in line at the grocery store or for our name to be called at our favorite coffee place. While it may seem eternal it isn’t. If we stop and think about it we know it really isn’t that long at all.

But what about when we are waiting to hear from God. When you have been praying for years about your health, an unsaved loved one or a mate and nothing has changed. You’ve been told that all things will happen in God’s time. But when is that? How do you continue to move forward in life, maintain a good attitude and hold on to hope?

Psalm 37:34 says “Wait for the Lord and keep His way and he will exalt you to inherit the land. When the wicked cut you off you will see it.” But how long?

Micah 7:7 says “But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.” But how long?

Isaiah 40:31 “Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not become weary.” But how long?

While bringing comfort the above scriptures and others written in the Bible urge us to remain strong and courageous during our trials and lean into the Lord. We should continue to pray and have faith that we will receive the answers we want and all of this is definitely true. I am just being real at this moment and saying it’s not always easy. I know that I have grown weary many times. I also know we may not get an answer in this life whether it be what we want or not.

Just a few of my prayers include when will I obtain a job that doesn’t cause the level of stress my current one does? How about the depression and anxiety that engulfs me, my children and other family members? When will this darkness be defeated? Will my son get his life on track and come back to the Lord? I try not to worry about him but I’m his mother. There will always be some level of worry when something involves my children.

So, what should we do? I strongly urge you to continue to stay in God’s word through daily Bible reading and meditation. Keep a gratitude journal to identify what you are thankful for every day. Engage in a small group and develop relationships through being open and honest about your struggles with your faith. Talk to God. Tell him how you are feeling although he already knows. God wants to hear us. Don’t be afraid to be respectfully but openly forthcoming.

I pray that this writing will help you today.

The Greatest Gift

Wow. It’s so amazing that an entire year has passed and it’s Christmas Eve once again. Many of us may still be shopping for last minute gifts, wrapping presents or getting ready to attend a church service tonight. If you have young children you may be prepping for a long night of assembling doll houses or bicycles. Many may be curious as to what gifts await them under the Christmas tree. Will I really get what I asked or hoped for this year?

Unfortunately many may be disappointed as they go to the tree on Christmas morning and not find what they were expecting. Or if they do the impact and excitement over receiving something dissipates by noon. Has this ever happened to you? Well fortunately this wasn’t the case for the shepherds who heard of the impending birth of Jesus and set out on a journey to find him.

What had the shepherds been told? Luke 2: 9-12 says ” An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Luke 2: 16-18; 20 says “So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,  and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them….  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”

What has the shepherds been told? They were told by an angel that the greatest gift to this world…a Savior for us all was being born and they should go, see and then tell others of this gift. Fortunately for them and the rest of us this gift was there as promised and this gift continues to give to us to this day. This is one gift that you don’t have to worry about being able to afford or that it will run-out. This gift is available to anyone who admits to the Lord that they have sinned and they want to accept Christ as their Savior; therefore being granted eternal life as opposed to death.

As recipients of this great gift we as beneficiaries should see it as a duty to do as the shepherds did and tell others of what we have been given. Sharing the Good News is the a priceless act that ensures that all of the world can learn of the goodness of our Christ Jesus.

So, as this Christmas comes and passes, don’t forget about the gift of Jesus like we may other presents we receive. Keep him with you always, live your life in a manner that reflects his virtues and tell others whenever you can. This may not always feel comfortable but a few seconds of discomfort on our part could spare someone an eternity of being separated from Christ in Heaven.

Who Loves You?

Have you ever had a person or people in your life whose love seemed conditional? Are they happy with you as long as you are meeting their expectations but upset when you don’t? If this is or has occurred what should or did you do? I asked myself this question just last week. You see I experience depression and at times it becomes so severe I don’t want to get out of bed. I’ve had to miss work off and on and my husband doesn’t seem to understand. Even though he works in the mental health field (we both do); when it comes to me he can’t seem to give me the support that I need when needed. He shuts down and isolates himself from me and becomes overall irritated with everyone at home. When I get better he’s better.

As I stated above this happened again last week. I thought long and hard about what to do about it. I just am tired at this point of not getting what I need when I need it from him. After all when he’s down and out I continue to be a cheerleader. I don’t become resentful because he isn’t fulfilling his typical duties. Shouldn’t I expect the same in return?

The answer to that question is “No”. We can’t expect anything from other people because we have all fallen short and can’t one hundred percent provide unconditional love. Some of us certainly provide more then others but never one hundred percent. As I was completing my devotional this morning I came upon Isaiah 54:5. This verse says “For Your Maker is your husband, the Lord of Hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.”

Well there it is. My answer. God is the only one we can depend upon for truly unconditional love, encouragement and guidance. He has promised to never forsake us and to be a rock and cover for us in times of trouble. We can cast our cares on him and know that the things of this world are temporary. Heaven is our permanent home. So although we will continue to be disappointed by those close and not so close to us personally, we have hope in knowing that our Maker and Redeemer will never leave us. Amen to that.

Don’t Let Election Day Results Take Away Your Joy

Yesterday was election day in Virginia and in other parts of the country. There were hotly contested elections on both the state and local level in many of these areas. While monitoring the results last night it was evident that many voters in my state were overjoyed with the final outcome. On the state level the Democratic Party regained control of the General Assembly (the Virginia House of Delegates and the Senate of Virginia). This has created a trifecta because they are now leading all three branches including the governor’s office. From what I understand this hasn’t happened in some decades. Locally in Fairfax County, VA the Board of Supervisors and School Board have become majority Democratic also.

Many whose candidate(s) weren’t elected may be fretting this morning. What will this mean? Will a progressive agenda now come to fruition in Virginia? I don’t know the answers but I do know one thing. Don’t spend your time worrying about it. God is in control and still on the throne. Pray for our leaders regularly and show them respect. Ask God to turn everyone of their hearts and minds to him and to follow his ways.

Also avoid social media and opinion cable network news or other type broadcasts whose main purpose is to sow division. Follow what God’s word says in Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.”

Be thankful and grateful always.

%d bloggers like this: