Social Media: The Marauder of Genuine Relationships

Narrow is the way

Shall we bid “au revoirue” to realistic and genuine relationships? Since the invention of chat rooms and social media, genuine and organic relationships have seemingly escaped the human experience. A few years ago, my family made the decision to deactivate our Facebook and Twitter accounts. At first there was much defiance (my children were teens at the time). Later on, we all discovered it’s effects on our spiritual and relational growth. This sacrifice allowed us to build a stronger family foundation, more intimacy with the Father, and added more time for family discipleship. This became our time to engage in challenging conversations, and has brought lots of laughter in our home. This also allowed for very transparent conversations about life, relationships, and hard-core questions about my past mistakes. Unbeknownst to me this would be a crucial time for my family’s growth. It was instrumental in the aversion of generational influences.

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Pride and Social Media (You may want to share this on Facebook) LOL

Narrow is the way

The following is an excerpt of Dr. John Barrett’s blog on http://www.dtbm.org. You can hear the full sermon on sermonaudio.com:

In light of my previous post concerning the effects of social media. I felt the following resource was very insightful and explains why this medium is detrimental to ones spiritual walk.

How To Identify My Pride 

The best source of insight into pride is an examination of your self asking honestly—Which of these areas apply to me?
Pride always makes me think that the sermon was for someone else other than me—because I’m okay!
Pride makes me always critique church (and any other teaching) on the basis of “what I got” rather than “what I gave”.
Pride makes me think of myself first and others second.
Pride makes me always look for my name on a list, always look for my face in a picture…

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The Beauty of Hymns: Jesus, I my Cross I’ve Taken (Music written by Bill Moore, Lyrics Henry Lyte)

Narrow is the way

1. Jesus, I my cross have taken,
All to leave and follow Thee.
Destitute, despised, forsaken,
Thou from hence my all shall be.
Perish every fond ambition,
All I’ve sought or hoped or known.
Yet how rich is my condition!
God and heaven are still my own.

2. Let the world despise and leave me,
They have left my Savior, too.
Human hearts and looks deceive me;
Thou art not, like them, untrue.
O while Thou dost smile upon me,
God of wisdom, love, and might,
Foes may hate and friends disown me,
Show Thy face and all is bright.

3. Man may trouble and distress me,
’Twill but drive me to Thy breast.
Life with trials hard may press me;
Heaven will bring me sweeter rest.
Oh, ’tis not in grief to harm me
While Thy love is left to me;
Oh, ’twere not in joy to charm me,

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Excellence of God’s People: Doing Our Best

I stumbled upon the below text in my studies. It orginates from a book called  “Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholarly Virtue” and thought..AMEN! See if you agree 😉

“In this spirit (of excellence), therefore, let us pursue excellence. As we have seen, far from being optional, excellence is in fact a divine mandate that applies to every aspect of our lives, for God himself is characterized by excellence. Mediocrity, sloppy workmanship, and a half-hearted effort do not bring glory to God or advance his kingdom”.

Powerful statement!

How many of us wake up with a focus to be excellent for God? The daily grind of employment, home-schooling, ministry commitments, and activities keeps us in a routine of tasks. Do we ever take a moment of pause and ask, “Am I doing my best?” More importantly, “Is my best a reflection of God’s glory here on the earth?” In the midst of the struggle to balance all of our activities, we often become distracted regarding our fellowship with the Spirit of God, especially throughout the day. He is our Beloved One, it is only fitting that He receives worship by way of mindful work in the Spirit of Excellence?

Included in Believer’s love for the Father through Christ our Lord, there should be a desire to do our best for Him; not from a works-based motive, but from a sincere organic closeness to engage with Him as the leader and active participant; and as the writer stated, of every aspect of our lives. If Emmanuel was with you every day, how would you operate? Would mediocrity be your norm?

The focus of Excellence in terms of it’s effect on the Church along with her individual members can be a bit blurry. Societial norms coupled with pride of life has had its effect on our efforts operate in excellence. The result is either an exaltation of excellence or a complete dismissal of the idea of Excellence in the life of the Believer. It can be viewed as legalistic, however, if we look closer to this idea we can soundly argue that excellence does not equate legalism.

For it is written:

Psalm 16:3 – As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.

Proverbs 12:4 – An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.

Daniel 6:3 – Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.

Secular vs. Sacred

Both secular and sacred(church) culture has provided contributions to the perversion of Excellence. I’m speaking specifically to the perception of our effectiveness in secular society, the tools we may use as expressions of worship, and our ability to execute in Faith.

Traditionally, secular society has tagged persons with exceptional abilities or talents as persons are “gifted”.  The same goes for American church culture. It’s often said that a person is “gifted” in things like accounting, or singing; we’ve even said that preachers are gifted. The perversion also includes exalting spiritual gifts above the Gospel. If we are truthful, God himself has not defined or delegated many of these skills as “gifts”. The result: A culture that exalts or worships exceptional skills, talents and abilities; or, we worship the person(s) with the skill. The perversion of Excellence happens when God the Creator and Soverign Lord is no longer the object of our affections.

On the flip side, you may have a church culture that unconciously surpresses the idea of Excellence, resulting in mediocrity. If Excellence is percieved as legalism the result will be sloppy workmanship and half-hearted efforts which can be as equally sinful. Mediocrity can’t be an option for God’s people….because He is Excellent!

Therefore, service unto the Lord and His people is done with joy and, with excellence. Whether working in secular society or ministry, inside the home or the Arts, the idea of serving the Lord and His people with excellence should be in consideration in all that we do. It’s a part of stewardship and it is worship!

 For it is written:

Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Lastly, the idea of Excellence in the preaching of God’s word is not left out of this equation. The same issues of idolatry and lukewarmness is evident when Elohim is not the object of worship. Preaching is worship. Excellence in preaching is achived when the Holy Spirit is in charge and there is a resolve to trust God’s Word. Faith in God and full confience in His word (logos) by the Power of the Holy Spirit is the foundation of humility. Preparation is a key component because we know that the those that preach (teach) the Word will be judged with more strictness (James 3:1). I’d like to think that most preachers and teachers of the Word rely on God’s grace, the Word and the Holy Sprit, however, I still have an expectation that ministers of the Word are dilligent to ensure proper preparation that includes sound doctrine.

The Believer’s decision to be Excellent isn’t based on how we do things; but who we do it for.  More importantly, Excellence is a vehicle by which we reflect his glory during our exile here on earth.

Selah

click Propaganda’s Excellent

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The Freedom to Forgive and the Bridge to Reconciliation: Part 2


Psalm 130:3-4 reminds us:

If thou, Lord, shouldest mark our sins, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.

Reconciliation begins when we forgive those that have trespassed against us.

For it is also written:

For if you forgive others (for) their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others (for) their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Jesus acts as the prophet by way of reminder of Psalm 130:3-4. This prescriptive text provides the reader with the proper perspective…Sin, forgiveness, and our limitations as fallible humans. Moreover, we all have sinned against the Holy and gracious God…and everyone is accountable for our actions.

Continuing our conversation on forgiveness and the bridge to reconciliation, we previously discussed struggle to forgive. We sited Joseph’s remarkable response to his brothers after they conspired to fake his death, leaving him in a pit which resulted in him being sold into slavery.

Today, the struggle to forgive is as it always has been; and though some of us have the benefit of Christ as our mediator, we continue to be challenged.  Our ever present sin nature assures us that it’s better to remain in a place of hurt and self-centeredness; and in that place, we’ve resolved to resent the offender. Especially if the offender is clearly wrong. For many of us, it’s easier to stay there and keep the status quo.

As I walk in the Narrow Way, I’m grateful. This journey of maturity and sanctification continues to provide insight and wisdom that is breaking the fallow ground of my heart. Praise God! On the other hand, these lessons are becoming more difficult. Answered prayers are coming to fuition and I’m coming to fully understand the seriousness, weight, and size of sin.  Unbeknownst to us, much of it is encased in pride. This sin is no different. Choosing not to forgive is a great evil and breaks the heart of the Father, for which I was chastised.  In that chastening, a choice was presented to me.

The Choice: self-centered thoughts verses a more intimate relationship with God and God’s people. I chose the latter.

When resolved to hold on to resentment, it effected my fellowship with the Father and how I connected with Believers. Trust was always an issue.

God is not pleased with this way of thinking.

He has already provded atonement for the sins of mankind so that we may be reconciled to Him; and, in turn, we should extend that same grace to others, especially toward the household of God.

What is the practical application?

For those who are sincerly struggling to be free, please understand without the benefit of God’s wisdom through Christ, you will continue to be tormented because satan has full control over your soul (Eph. 2:3). I beg you to repent of your sin and believe the Gospel. Without God’s Spirit and a regenrated heart, one cannot understand true wisdom from above, which is the only wisdom that is perfect!

Friends, we must be aware of the “little foxes” and resolve to:

  1. Trust Elohim to be the one who will balance the scales of justice, He IS the perfect judge.
  2. Pray daily for a heart to reflect Eph. 4:30-5:2 and die daily,
  3. Starve your flesh and feed your Spirit with the Word of God. Eliminate elements of your life that will not add value to your sanctification, and
  4. Walk in humility.  Don’t think for a moment that we cannot slip and fall into pride and presumption. The struggle is real.

Lastly, the atoning blood of Christ is for all who believe and nothing shall separate us from the love which He so lavishly laid upon us! Therefore, resolve to honour all men. love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the King! To forgive today is tomorrow’s reconciliation.

Selah

 

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The Freedom to Forgive and the Bridge to Reconciliation Pt.1

Forgiveness may be THE most difficult of directives to walk and live out daily for Believers; extremely difficult for secular society. So difficult, that the mere mention to forgive an offense often sparks debate. The foolishness of the world teaches that one should forgive to get “free” from the thoughts, or memories of the wrong committed. But what does the Bible teach?

The first mention of the act or request of pardoning of sins or transgressions is found in the 60th chapter of Genesis starting at the 15th verse. Joseph, while serving as the Pharaoh’s treasurer(steward), reconciles with his brothers.

This example would be the essence and substance of what Elohim will do through the Messiah to come. Additionally, it’s a pattern for future generations of Believers…Forgiveness is indeed divine!

If we are honest with ourselves, we know that true forgiveness is a struggle.  More often than not, we’ll say with our mouths that we’ve forgiven those persons that have hurt or betrayed us but inward, we may find it difficult to release the hard feelings. Our minds will reflect on the offense and our flesh kicks in. Even the notion of pardoning somone’s transgression causes angst and contempt. Soon bitterness takes residency in the heart, and those offenses are harder to let go….but God’s grace is sufficient. He is made strong in our weaknesses.

I stand amazed at Joseph’s reaction to his brothers and the joy of reconciliation that it fosters!

Look to the scriptures, it reads:

When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” so they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died: Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.”But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

What a wonderful example of forgiveness and reconciliation! What would our relationships look like if we chose forgiveness for the purpose of peace and reconciliation?

Selah….to be continued

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Moving on……Maturity Matters, Pt 1.

Narrow is the way

New City, new marriage, new church family……a year of new beginnings with new lessons

Lesson 1, Real Faith: Faith is not a joke or a passive lesson that ebbs and flows with life’s circumstances. Real and active faith in God through Christ must be the Disciples’ reality. Trusting that our Lord God’s sovereign will is perfect, and that He is the all powerful and wise GOD must be the TRUE CHURCH’S resolve to live the rest of our days on this earth.  Tozer writes: 

“Real faith never disappoints because it is in God, grounded on His character, promises, covenant and oath.” 

Maturing in the Faith; by Faith, the Lord is providing an awesome perspective of walking in true discipleship.  Following  the steps of Christ demands little of ourselves with respect to human capabilities, understandings, and intellectualism. Systematic and Reformed Theology can only take you so far. The Spirit must be the…

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Reading Refresher: The Pursuit of Holiness, Jerry Bridges

jb

Too often, we say we are defeated by this or that sin. No, we are not defeated. We are simply disobedient. It might be good if we stop using the terms victory and defeat to describe our progress in holiness. Rather, we should use the terms obedience and disobedience. When I say I am defeated by some sin, I am unconsciously slipping out from under my responsibility. I am saying something outside of me has defeated me. But when I say I am disobedient, that places the responsibility for my sin squarely on me. We may in fact be defeated, but the reason we are defeated is because we have chosen to disobey.

We need to brace ourselves up and to realize that we are responsible for thoughts, attitudes, and actions. We need to reckon on the fact that we died to sin’s reign, that it no longer has any dominion over us, that God has united us with the risen Christ in all His power and has given us the Holy Spirit to work in us. Only as we accept our responsibility and appropriate God’s provisions will we make any progress in our pursuit of holiness.

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Noam Chomsky – “10 Strategies of Manipulation” by the Media

FREE WILL

Renowned critic and always MIT linguist Noam Chomsky, one of the classic voices of intellectual dissent in the last decade, has compiled a list of the ten most common and effective strategies resorted to by the agendas “hidden” to establish a manipulation of the population through the media.Historically the media have proven highly efficient to mold public opinion. Thanks to the media paraphernalia and propaganda, have been created or destroyed social movements, justified wars, tempered financial crisis, spurred on some other ideological currents, and even given the phenomenon of media as producers of reality within the collective psyche. But how to detect the most common strategies for understanding these psychosocial tools which, surely, we participate? Fortunately Chomsky has been given the task of synthesizing and expose these practices, some more obvious and more sophisticated, but apparently all equally effective and, from a certain point of view, demeaning. Encourage stupidity, promote…

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