Religion and technology

These two terms seem to contradict each other in a way. Yes, there are many churches which use technology for entertainment and for their music productions but in general, they don’t seem to really go together. The two don’t mesh well together. Smartphones and the apps which people use allow for reading the Bible or listening to it on a daily basis if we wish to.

But other than reading God’s Word, our technology tends to separate us from Him and from each other. We live in augmented reality because of our dependence or our addiction to technology. Not that we are living in a virtual world all of the time but when you combine the Internet and television and the games which we play online or on our phones, then we are not living in the real world.

Life is not in the virtual world. This “world” is made up of photons and data and programs which change our brains in subtle ways so that sometimes the “virtual world” seems more real than the real world itself. This is why the words spoken on social media which hurt our feelings can have such a dramatic effect on young people, causing some to take their lives because of “cyberbullying”.

Your life is more than that which is on social media sites, yet many people seem to base their whole life on the snippets of news and stories from their “friends” on these sites. God never intended for your life to be centered around the Internet and certainly not around virtual friends that most have never even met face to face.

Prior to the last thirty years, the Internet was only a part of research labs and the military and it was only used for those purposes. Now, there are all sorts of people using it for stealing money and blackmail and all sorts of criminal behavior which mostly can’t be traced back to the people doing these things. God loves all of humanity which is why He sent Jesus to pay the debt for all of our sins. Although many don’t accept Him as their Savior and many more don’t even believe that He existed at all, other than as a good teacher.

I pray that whoever reads this blog will seek Him out and pray to become a Christian because one day you won’t have that chance and you will be judged for your life outside of Jesus. Without Him, your eternity will be a true nightmare indeed.HomelessbutRich

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Mom

My mother is no longer with us and she didn’t get to see her grandson, at least she didn’t see him in person. I feel that any of our family in heaven do have a way of seeing into our lives from there so it is possible that she knows about him. Why am I starting this post with the telling of my mom being in heaven? Because I know she is there.

myMomI know she was a Bible reading woman and she took me to church each Sunday. She also had a beautiful voice and she was singing hymns much of the time while I was growing up. Does this prove that she was a Christian? No, but in my heart, I feel that she is there. I suppose I will find out when I get there in….well, whenever God calls me home.

My mother was a good Mom and I never thought of her as anything other than my mom. I am thankful for her and the effort that it took to raise me on her own, even though my grandparents were there. They didn’t discipline me in any meaningful way because they were afraid of driving me away. I had way too much freedom during my teen years, but those were the ’70’s before we even knew what a terrorist was. The only time I even heard about a Muslim religion was during the hostage crisis during my senior year in high school.

Life has changed a lot in the last forty years and not really for the better. Society has changed in ways that my graduating class of 1979 never thought would be a part of our lives. But…it is now and it will likely be this way until the end of days when Jesus comes back. Humanity will survive but there are going to be some hard times coming soon and for those who do not know Jesus the world will be so different from today. It will be more dangerous and much more like the movie “1984”.

 

Confidence

You hear and read about how to be more confident in yourself and your abilities. Exactly what does that mean? I understand that many of us lack the confidence to step out in faith at times. Some of us are not confident in our own ability to do this or that, specifically if it has to do with speaking or something that involves public anything.

There are many books out there telling you how to be more confident in your ability or in your calling. But, how do we do these things confidently and boldly..particularly in our ministry? You didn’t know that you had one of those, did you? Well, every believer has a ministry of some kind because when you were saved it was planted in your new life. You may not be fully aware of it yet or you might have felt God drawing you toward it, but it is there.

We are given a portion of talents and abilities by God when we are born yet some of them don’t manifest themselves until we are born into God’s family. So, what are these abilities? Only God knows what He has given you, but He will reveal them to you when you need them.

God uses each of us in ways that we can’t understand just as He did in the Bible with His disciples and His prophets in the Old Testament. Some of us feel weak and unworthy to be His servants yet He can use each of us in ways which we cannot see prior to His intervention in our lives. Sometimes, He will even break you in a way that He has to heal you or put you back together and He will do it so that you will be more useful to Him in the end.

When God does this, it may hurt for a while but as long as you stay the course and follow His lead, giving Him the glory for healing you and making you a better person, then you will come out on top every time. He used sorrow and pain to bring many people to their knees and seek Him in order for them to be even more useful in His Kingdom. Life drags all of us down at times and occasionally it is God allowing this in order for us to look to Him for strength and guidance through it.

I know it sounds as if I am blaming God for all of our troubles but I am not. Yes, He does use those troubles in our lives for His purposes, but it is not His hand which is dealing each of us the hurts and the ailments which we live with daily. Is life and living hard today? At times it is. Consider that there are numerous diseases which are around which didn’t exist thirty years ago. Many of them have been caused by genetically modified organisms like the sugar beets, corn, soy, wheat and canola which produce much of our food products today or they are fed to the animals which become our food.

Why did I mention these products? Because, forty years ago most of them didn’t exist and many of the “new” diseases that you see on the TV didn’t exist either, including many of the cancers that are killing so many today. How do I know that this is happening? I have suspected it for a long time and during my research, I found a study which speaks of some doctors which put many of their patients on organic food as a prescription for health. Many of those patients had problems which are consistent with cancers, arthritis of differing kinds, bowel disorders and even dementia. With the organic food and diet, many of these were lessened or even reversed entirely.

So truthfully we have caused our own health crisis. Not individually, but the pesticide and seed companies which have modified strains of certain vegetables to be resistant to their pesticides and herbicides. Then the animals eat these and are given hormones and antibiotics to protect them, but what are the effects of us eating these? The so-called “research” is paid for by these companies and makes it seem legitimately harmless.

So, we have caused much of our own suffering, yet God can use this to bring us closer to Him. Follow God and trust Him in all your ways.

In His service.

A long time coming…

Some people see this as a title of redemption or of something which they have been trying for most of their lives to get. Looking for some kind of reward after living a long time with no good thing coming to you. Sounds like my life and maybe even yours, hmm?

We get what we put into life many times, but what about what you really need? Do you really think about what you actually need in this life or do you just crave things because you are trying to keep up or at least look like you can keep up?

I know I am asking lots of questions, but if we don’t ask these questions how will you know what is coming? I know, another question. The days that we are living in now are close to the time described in the book of Revelation.

Why did I bring that up? Because it is necessary for you to know. God didn’t place a prophetic book in the New Testament just for fun. It’s there because we need to know what is coming, and very soon. We are loved by our Creator, but there are many who don’t want to love Him. Some are complaining that He’s not coming back, but since God cannot lie I believe He is! What or rather who do you think can solve our problems? The governments of the world can’t fix them. Any kind of military action will not fix any problem of the world or any of the countries in the world.

Truly, there is nothing which we can do which will bring about any kind of healing or even fix the economic problems of any single country, let alone the world! There are too many cultural differences and religious differences for us to be able to come up with a workable solution.

But…God can fix them all! When Jesus comes to rule the Earth, His rule will be absolute and our problems will get fixed during His one thousand year reign. I ask you to make sure of your place in this world and the next by accepting Him as your Savior and Lord.

 

Will you have an impact?

We are starting a new year, not exactly an Earth-shaking event. But…will you have an impact in our world or your world this year? Sometimes we make resolutions for the year when it is brand new and fresh but after a couple of paychecks and possibly a trip to the doctor’s office…well those resolutions get placed in the closet until next year. So, can we have an impact on those we love or the workplace?

GodisNearActually, we can IF we will let God into our lives and let Him influence our living from day-to-day! I know that there are people who don’t like to hear about religion in general, regardless of whether Jesus is part of it! But, the fact is that everyone needs Him whether we realize it or accept it or not!

Could we have an impact on the world without allowing Jesus into our lives on a daily basis? Yes, but it wouldn’t have an eternal outcome if we did it all on our own. Teachers in high school and college have an impact on their student’s lives during the year, but how much do you remember of tenth-grade algebra class? I would guess that, like me, you don’t really remember much of it (unless you actually work in a field that you USE it every day)!

Being a Christian is very different from learning algebra or geometry because it is a decision which we are called to by God and the Holy Spirit. It is not a decision that you make on your own, although you do have to decide to accept the offer of salvation from Jesus. You can’t just decide that today I am going to become a Christian because it is a calling from God which prompts you to realize that you need Jesus in your life.

Being a Christian and living life as a Christian is not a hard thing to do, but it is a life that you have to learn to do. Studying the Bible and learning about the grace of God and His plan for your life is part of living your life for Jesus! Repenting or walking away from your sins is another part of being a true Christian. Sitting in church or Sunday school once or twice a month and not changing your lifestyle doesn’t make you a Christian. Although many people who go to church once or twice a year think that they are Christians, even though they haven’t been baptized or changed anything about their lives!

You can have an impact in this world and in eternity by living your life for Christ so that others will see its effect on you and want what you have.

God is what our country needs!

I read this not long ago and it is true, although few people in the media would report it that way. Here is something that a parent who lost a child to violence said as he addressed Congress. I hope that you will find it as enlightening as I did.

On Thursday, Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colorado, was invited to address the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee. What he said to our national leaders during this special session of Congress was painfully truthful.

They were not prepared for what he was to say, nor was it received well. It needs to be heard by every parent, every teacher, every politician, every sociologist, every psychologist, and every so-called expert! These courageous words spoken by Darrell Scott are powerful, penetrating, and deeply personal. There is no doubt that God sent this man as a voice crying in the wilderness. The following is a portion of the transcript:

“Since the dawn of creation, there has been both good &evil in the hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.
“The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used…Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain’s heart.
“In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA – because I don’t believe that they are responsible for my daughter’s death. Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel’s murder I would be their strongest opponent
I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy — it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves. I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best.

Your laws ignore our deepest needs,
Your words are empty air.
You’ve stripped away our heritage,
You’ve outlawed simple prayer.
Now gunshots fill our classrooms,
And precious children die.
You seek for answers everywhere,
And ask the question “Why?”
You regulate restrictive laws,
Through legislative creed.
And yet you fail to understand,
That God is what we need!

“Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. Spiritual presences were present within our educational systems for most of our nation’s history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact.
What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine’s tragedy occurs — politicians immediately search for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws.
Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts.

“As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right! I challenge every young person in America, and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School prayer was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him.

To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA — I give to you a sincere challenge…Dare to examine your own heart before casting the first stone!
My daughter’s death will not be in vain! The young people of this country will not allow that to happen!”
– Darrell Scott

It is not about race

So many comparisons are made between people who have no concept of race, it seems. In fact, the human race is the only real “race” that exists on Earth. There are many differences in skin tone and color, eye shape, hair, etc. but we are all homo sapiens, at least as far as DNA can tell us. Genetics has produced and still produces differences in our “look” but the actual race is the same.

Culture and differences in the practice of lifestyles are the most visible differences and the most vocal. But, a preference for one sexual partner or another doesn’t compare to the injustices suffered by people of color, regardless of how you phrase it. Sexual preference is not a “civil right”, it is just your preference. Period.

The world around you shouldn’t have to cave to your desires and preferences just because you have a different preference for a sexual partner. In all fairness, we shouldn’t be so judgmental about this in our culture anyway but we are. Even on social media, we tend toward having friends which look like us or believe like us. We are not as diverse in our friendships as we would like people to believe we are.

So, truly, is there anything that we can do which would change our view or perception of each other? Historically, the human race has not had a very good track record of tolerance. In the past, wars have been fought over skin color, a line on a map, religious differences even among Christians! We can find a reason to disagree on almost anything and do so to the point of shooting at each other with arrows or guns or even dropping bombs on those that we are at war with!

So, to answer that question of “Is there anything that we can do to get along?”…..not much. Without a common enemy or goal, which our differences in religion and culture tend to change our perception of, we don’t have much of a chance to truly get along all over the world! Even when we were mostly Christian in our beliefs about five hundred years ago, the freedom to practice our religion divided us. In the sixteenth century, it was the publication of an English Bible which caused many to be put to death because of it.

Can our planet survive our differences? Yes, and a good portion of humanity will too when Jesus returns and rules our planet rather than us being divided on so many fronts. Everyone won’t be totally on board with all of His rulings, but the enforcement will be with a “rod of iron“, so humanity will learn to get along.

God has never forced His Ten Commandments on people but we will pay for not following them because they are part of His Law. We are not required now to be Christians, but if you survive until Jesus returns to be the Ruler of David’s throne then you will have to make a choice. God loves us as His Creation but just as we aren’t happy with some of our children’s choices in life, He isn’t either. We are supposed to choose to follow Jesus and if you have the wisdom to know that God is your Creator then it would be a good idea to give your heart to Him.

Freedom of religion

Freedom of religion which is guaranteed in our Constitution concerns the freedom to practice the religion of your choice or none at all. So why do many in our country want to get rid of any shred of Christianity that they can and yet any other form of religion beyond that is Ok?

I suppose it is because of the truth which we claim to follow in our churches and preach from the pulpits was given to the Jewish people as the Word of God through His prophets. Therefore it is True and indisputable which makes many people very nervous and jittery about a book with absolute Truth in its pages. They question its Truth and they question the validity of those who wrote the words down.

In many parts of the world there is no freedom of religion at all, you either believe and practice the religion of the state or, in some cases, you are killed for being a heretic. If you aren’t killed, then you are put in jail so you can’t spread your “lies” to other people.

All of this division has been orchestrated by Satan from eons past or since Adam and Eve were in the Garden at least. Our world, not just America, has many religions which worship things and ideas which have been written down in recent memory and some which were taught many hundreds of years ago. The religions or people and their ideas that are worshiped are not gods and they are not God, but it seems that many are deceived by their leaders to believe that they are.

Don’t give your heart or your mind to these ideas or people because that path leads away from God and away from eternity in Heaven. It doesn’t lead “to the dark side” but it does go to a dark place from which there is no escape. God loves you regardless of what you may have heard or read because He is your Creator. Seek Him out while there is time and try to have an open mind doing so. Learn about Him from the Bible and a Bible teaching church, not some of this “prosperity new age” junk!

 

Dividing lines

Why are the people of America trying to divide our country now? I mean, it happened during the Civil War by politics and by differences of opinion on slaves and who should have them or not. Now, we are dividing it because of the history of that period and the feelings of those living today. My ancestors came from Ireland, some of them were slaves too but I am not going to worry myself about what happened over 200 years ago because it is not part of our present.

Countries and people are divided in many places around the globe because of politics and religion. America was the world’s “great melting pot” where every person from anywhere could come and be an American, not a hyphenated citizen. What happened? Have we rewritten our history so it won’t offend anyone today? What about twenty years from now? Will we just throw away the American flag and the national anthem and any trace of history from more than a century ago?

God brought our land together and the people who made up this great land and the government which governs it too. Now, at least one-third of Americans…maybe more are willing to make it into what exactly? Will it be a country that your grandparents would be proud of? Will God approve of the changes that seem to be happening at a rapid pace?

I don’t know the answers to those questions. I am not sure that many people know the real answers to those questions. I do know that if our country goes down the path which seems to be forming in our politically correct media and those who make the rules in our government, America will not be a place to look up to by anyone anymore. I never thought that our country would ever get to this point, but after the Vietnam War it seems that we, the American people, have lost much of our ideals and our pride in our country.

Did America have some dark days in her past, yes, but so does every country in the world! All of them have had slavery and abuse of power issues. All countries have had racial tension and religious persecution, we are not unique in that arena. Life, no matter where it may be, isn’t easy or guaranteed to last a certain amount of time. Some of the atrocities such as sex slavery (which is going on now) haven’t been dealt with yet.

Pedophiles and sexual battering and other perverted problems which are coming to light are not something that I thought that my child would have to learn about or have to pray about for guidance and protection but we are. We have pushed God out of education and mostly out of our collective conscience and now we are paying the price for it.

follow Christ

Rest I need, yes sleep….

YodaThose words come from an old Jedi teacher in “Return of the Jedi”. But we all need sleep and rest. Not the sleep of death or oblivion or becoming one with the Force, but restful sleep each day. It is given to us by our Heavenly Father just as it was given to Jesus when He walked on this Earth so many years ago.

Restful sleep is sometimes a fleeting think in our world today because of the sedentary lives that many of us have. Sometimes our brain just doesn’t seem to crave a shut-down period and we keep the neurons firing so much that we can’t get to sleep without medication of some kind. Yes, God intended for us to rest at night to begin the day refreshed and ready for what may come in it. So…why is it so hard at times to get our brains to hibernate for a few hours?

We have too much technology around us could be part of it. The blue light from screens on phones and Kindle’s and computers interrupts our brain’s perception of night. Most of the research that has been done on this says that our screen time should be shut off at least four hours before bedtime, the problem is that our flat screen TV’s emit just as much blue light and many of us have those in our bedroom. We are deliberately sabotaging our own sleep by watching TV until bedtime or even in our beds.

Can we wean ourselves from this technology which interferes with our rest? Not willingly I fear. Consider this if you are having problems with sleep and try to limit late night viewing of screens. I will be doing this myself and hopefully we can find a way to limit our use of medication to sleep while possibly getting better sleep. Amen.