For the past 6 weeks, I have been linking up with Women Living Well’s Series called Media Mondays. This final week is a wrap-up of what we have learned from this venture together. The most important thing I have learned is that we need to be good stewards of how media impacts our lives, and we should always keep our focus…..
on God above!
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This is a new era of technology and – THE MEDIA – impacts many facets of our daily lives….
OUR WALK WITH GOD: Technology is a neutral thing that can be harmful or beneficial in our walk with God, depending on how well we manage it’s use and impact in our daily lives. When our media gadgets start to crowd out our time with God and to shuffle our priority list…..it’s time for a Reality Check.
OUR MARRIAGES: In this day and age, the internet, texting, chat boxes, and other social outlets make it very easy to be enticed into being dissatisfied with our marriage partner or too busy/preoccupied to spend time on keeping our marriages strong and vibrant. We must make special effort to guard our marriage relationships.
OUR PARENTING: When recognizing the influence media has on our children and how much their world is bombarded with its messages, our responsibilities as parents become critical. It is good to become Web Aware as parents, and to empower our children with knowledge and discernment skills as they daily navigate the world of technology and media. It is also good to be aware of what and who they are being influenced by.
OUR HOMEMAKING: The Bible talks about the importance of being a woman who is diligent and faithful in running the affairs of her household. The internet has many tools and sites for ideas that can assist us in caring for, managing, and decorating our homes. We just need to be able to balance out time spent on the computer with time spent ”Get’n er done”.
OUR FRIENDSHIPS: Modern technology provides us with many valuable ways to keep in touch with friends and to nurture our friendships. We need to keep a proper perspective on reality vs the virtual world, and honor God in all our interactions with others, reflecting His love always.
OUR HEALTH: We have a responsibility to take care of our health. With so much information, there is really no excuse to not be able to become informed and to live a healthier lifestyle. (Body and Spirit)
Conclusion: I have enjoyed this exploration about the media and how it affects so many areas of our life. The media is here to stay as well as the virtual world. As Christians, we can gain a lot from such easy access to the media and it can be a tool that we can use to enrich us and help mature us as we strive to connect with other believers, and learn from other believers. We can be good stewards of these resources as long as we keep tabs on our priorities and our walk with God. Important to remember, is that God can bless us through media, but He still wants us to draw away from the distractions of life (including the media), and carve out that quiet time one on one with Him.
Prayer for How the Media Impacts You: May God always be your priority and focus. May the media be a tool that He uses to enrich and bless your life!
19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. I Corinthians 6
The media is saturated with information about health and fitness. You can find information about correct exercise techniques, healthy eating and how to make healthy recipes. There are downloadable workouts, there are support forums for various health programs, and there are blogs and websites that specialize in the exchange of health and fitness information. There are also research articles and journals for those like me who work in a health care profession. With so much information, there is really no excuse to not be able to become informed and to live a healthier lifestyle. The warning, however, is to make sure that the resources of your information are credible, and to gather opinions and counsel from multiple sources. We also need to limit our time as well as how much time our children spend on computers and other electronic devices. We should encourage, instead, exercise through indoor and outdoor activities that promote movement. Spending too much time looking at a screen has also been found through studies to interfere with our ability to get restful sleep.
If we keep our bodies healthy, we will live a longer, more abundant life, and we will have the energy and physical ability to be a servant of God, ministering to others: 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.Ephesians 2
It is important to keep our bodies healthy, but it is even more important to keep our spirit healthy. 8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. 1 Timothy 4. We are only on this Earth, occupying this body for a short time, but the condition of our spirits has an eternal value to it. The media of course is full of things and ideas that can distract us from God’s truths, and we must navigate the spiritual information out there carefully and prayerfully. The media, is also, however, a very abundant source of information, and connection for believers to help nurture and mature them spiritually. There are Christian web sites that promote Bible study, family relationships, marriage relationships, and Chrisian living in general. Christians can connect to each other through personal online interaction in the form of emails, prayer chains, Bible studies and blogging link-ups. You can have daily devotionals or scripture passages sent to your email to start your day with meditations about God.
Important to remember, however, is that God still wants us to draw away from the distractions of life, including the media, and carve out that quiet time one on one with Him…and He will meet us there to renew us.
11 The LORD will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. Isaiah 58:11
Since days of long ago, friends have reached out to each other to communicate when they had to be apart….usually in the form of paper and ink. When I was a child, I had a collection of stationary – all colors, themes, some even scented, and all with matching envelopes or seals. I loved writing, sending and of course, receiving letters. I remember the excitement of checking the mail box every morning to see if a letter had arrived.
Today, my stationary sits in a box in the back of a cupboard and I don’t even know what most of my friends handwriting looks like, because I rarely have reason to see their communication in print form. It’s just another change that technology has brought to our world…but it’s also opened the door to more varied, and definitely faster means of keeping us in touch with our circle of friends. It’s so easy to send an email, a text, an e-card, or to post something to a social site. Via social sites, we get to reconnect with old friends too that we wouldn’t otherwise have opportunity to stay connected with. We get glimpses into their lives via pictures of their family, friends, and we get to share in the special events of their lives such as birthdays, weddings, births, etc.
We must also keep in mind, however, that the virtual world is not the real world….the oh so glitzy, life is good, best bits glimpses into other’s lives are not a true picture of reality. The Bible warns against being envious of what others have or of judging others which is a hard thing for all of us to not be tempted to do. So many times I have thought someone just had that perfect, all together life only to find out with closer scrutiny that it was just a front they would put out for the world to see, while real world life for them was actually ” a hot mess.” God wants us to be like Paul, content with what we have, where he has placed us, and to focus on doing the best we can with what we have…as wives, moms, employees, bosses, and as friends.
Friendships are a wonderful thing, and God can richly bless us via modern technology and especially via forms of portable media access to help us stay connected to each other. Via media, we can also find and connect with people that we wouldn’t otherwise cross paths with via blogs, and social sites, and God can use those people to enrich our lives. I have met many special people over the past few months just from blogging. They have taught me, inspired me, and enriched my life. It has been good for me to read the blogs and websites of other women who are trying to be godly wives and moms because it helps me keep my focus and perspective where God wants it to be.
9 Ointment and perfume delight the heart,
And the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel. Proverbs 27
As Christians, we have a responsibility to honor God with our connections to others, and we should be careful to make sure that whatever we communicate to others reflects his love, and honors him. I have tried to be careful with what I put in written form that can be publicly viewed by others, and to not get caught up in the HE said, SHE said, kinds of conflict that so easily occur. When I’ve messed up, however, I’ve had to make formal apology as well and try to make amends or clear up any misunderstanding. Just the other day my feelings got hurt because I was told about wrong information being gossiped about me…I had to just remember that when misunderstandings occur, God knows the truth and He is ultimately in charge. I resisted the urge to post a comment and just handed it over to Him to take care of (and He did).
In today’s fast paced world, we should cherish our friendships, and the means to so easily stay in touch with those we care about. We should remember, however, to make sure that at times our closest friendships get preserved with more personable communication too….an actual phone call vs a text, maybe a birthday card via snail mail vs email, and of course – one on one time with each other face to face without any of the distractions of modern technology.
Prayer For Your Friendships: May your friendships be cherished, preserved, and blessed by the Father above who looks down on us with joy when our ability to relate to each other reflects His love for us. Image Above: Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos
MEDIA AND HOMEMAKINGThis week, I have been using some vacation days to spend end of summer time with my 2 girls, to get everyone’s back to school needs met, and to do a lot of organizing at home. I am usually a very organized person, or at least at work that is what I’m often told. In truth, I am just organized chaos – without some degree of being organized, I can’t function well at all.
We have been in our new home right at a year now, and I have found that having a much bigger home to take care of has really challenged my organization skills, and I have let it get the better of me. With new grit and determination, I resolved this week to figure out new strategies for getting better organized and at least tackling some much needed projects while I had the time. It has been this week, that I have found vast resources and practical ideas via the media. It has been time consuming I admit to gather the information and learn/explore the tools that would best suit the needs of my family and household, but it has been time well spent. I think the important thing that has pulled it all together for me, has been that I have balanced out time spent on the computer with time spent “Get’n er done”. I haven’t completely mastered the areas I need to, but I have the satisfaction of knowing I have made good progress toward those goals, and can more easily keep up with the household when I do start back to work at the end of this week.
Another wonderful event of this week, has been that my kids have also caught the enthusiasm and joined me with cleanups, and projects which has made it even more fun. My teenager, especially has wanted to use some of the organizational resources I have found on the computer to help with her own personal organizational needs. She has also pitched in to help me paint and do a thorough room makeover/clean out of her younger sister’s room which is part of a birthday surprise (she turns 7 tomorrow). I have truly felt enriched and productive this week, and have been thankful to have the resources of the media at my fingertips.
The Bible talks about the importance of being a woman who is diligent and faithful in running the affairs of her household. I want to be such a woman, and so I have been praying and thinking about how to improve in that area this week. As my daughter and I sat in the middle of a chaotic mess of crayons, dolls, and various toys, I thought about how often our lives have to get a big mucky before we realize the need to put them in order, and about how it is a process that sometimes involves feeling like it gets worse before it gets better. Sometimes when God is trying to organize something in our lives, perhaps he has to let it get a bit messier as part of the process of teaching us something and renewing us. Although the media can be a valuable resource, we need to remember to not be self-sufficient and busy God out of the process. In the chaos of life, if we just turn to Him as the ultimate resource, He is always there to help, restore, put in order and make new. He can help us find the discipline and balance we need to be the homemaker He desires us to be.
Prayer for Homemakers: May God richly bless you in the important duty of being a homemaker. May He renew you as you go to Him each day for the wisdom and resources you need to focus on your priorities, manage your time, and the needs of your family and home. May He bless you with a servant’s heart, delighting to honor Him in whatever task is at hand.
Image above courtesy of: Copyright (c) <a href=’http://www.123rf.com’>123RF Stock Photos</a>
*GLITTERING GENERALITIES *TESTIMONIALS *CELEBRITY STATUS *CAUSE AND EFFECT *EMOTIONAL APPEAL *CONFUSION *SEX APPEAL *TECHNICAL JARGON *NAME CALLING *PLAIN FOLKS
Are these terms familiar to you? and are they familiar to your children? When recognizing the influence media has on our children and how much their world is bombarded with its messages, our responsibilities as parents becomes critical.
When I was in high school, I took a class on marketing strategies and we learned about how the advertising world targets varying ages, social groups, genders and personality types to lure them into buying or trying their product or believing the messages they are trying to deliver. This opened my eyes to the world of bait and hook, and I realized that is also Satan’s specialty. He loves to find the thing that we least suspect to be a hook, and he just waits for us to take the bait and run with it.
It is a wise thing to use filters and parental controls on the forms of media our kids have access to on their own…but it isn’t foolproof. We can’t protect them from being exposed to some things that will be potentially dangerous or harmful to them. It is good to empower our children with knowledge and to teach them discernment when we can. The internet has many resources for learning about these marketing strategies so that we can teach our children. We can watch TV with them and spend time on the computer with them showing them things that are meant to deceive them, and discussing the differences between what may be portrayed in a TV show with worldly influences and God’s standards. There are so many opportunities to engage our children in meaningful discussions and to involve them in the process of learning to think for themselves, instead of just following the crowd and easily taking the bait.
There are also many resources for learning about the various forms of media our children are interested in that we may have limited knowledge about ourselves. A very good resource is Be Web Aware http://www.bewebaware.ca/english/default.html, part of Media Awareness Network. This site has many interactive tutorials, links, and resource tools to help you become an educated and involved parent.
A PRAYER FOR YOUR CHILDREN: May God equip them with discernment and may they experience an open, involved communication with their parents that will help them to see through the deceptions of the world and empower them to look to God for guidance and wisdom as they live out the concept of Being IN the world, but not OF the world.
Image above courtesy of: Copyright (c) <a href=’http://www.123rf.com’>123RF Stock Photos</a>
..walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:1-2
The marriage vows….
Our wedding day…. On that happy day, we make vows, not just to our spouse, but to our Heavenly Father. It is supposed to be the beginning of a journey of learning self-less unconditional love. In those sacred vows, with our marriage founded on Christian love, we have a Helper to bless and nurture our marriage all the days of our wedded life.
What happens when the honey moon phase is over? We discover what kind of love our marriage is really being built on….selfless Christian love or love of self. It is easy to think we love someone and not realize that we are actually using that person to fill up the loneliness, emptiness, and restlessness that only God can fill.
If we are not placing God as head of our marriage, then the emptiness, loneliness, and restlessness will return. It is then that we become vulnerable to the vices and temptations that can destroy our marriage. In this day and age, the internet, texting, chat boxes, and other social outlets make it very easy to be enticed into being dissatisfied with our marriage partner and looking for other self gratifying ways to plug up the holes inside. It could be engrossing ourselves in hours of entertainment, internet surfing, etc, or it could be the danger of an emotional or physical affair.
We have to recognize the source of the problem. I have found myself vulnerable in times that I felt disconnected from my husband, but more importantly from God. Fortunately, God enlightened me as over the past months I have watched friends get caught in these traps. When their marriages break on the crashing rocks of infidelity, they very quickly turn to the social outlets to fill up the holes, and dull the hurt and pain. Instead of turning to God to be their lifeline, they immediately repeat the same vicious cycle. How can they expect their relationships to turn out any different? How can they expect God’s blessings on their life or future marriages? Why can they not see that God can’t fill up their emptiness because they keep beating him to it, and filling up the holes with their own self-gratifying quick fixes. Why can they not see that it is a relationship of death.
Why is it death? Because a relationship is a living thing. It is either growing and thriving or it is stagnating and dying. Only if God is involved can the relationship be truly maturing and growing. People make the mistake of thinking the relationship is alive because it is currently making them feel good and feeding their ego. Without God, however, it is certain death. It may be quick or it may slowly wither and fade over months and years. We have to put hedges up around our marriages, especially with the temptations so readily available to distract and destroy us via modern technology and social sites. We have to be diligent about guarding our minds, thoughts, and passions because we all could easily fall into the traps.
My prayer for any reader of this post is that God would richly bless your marriage, protect and nurture it, and continue to grow it into a beautiful, living, thriving relationship that teaches you selfless love and dependence on Him.
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A high priority in our daily walk with God should be taking time to communicate with Him. In this modern world of technology, communication gadgets, and information overload, we have to make sure that we don’t let our relationship with God get squeezed out. Technology is a neutral thing that can be harmful or beneficial in our walk with God, depending on how well we manage it’s use and impact in our daily lives.
I admittedly have allowed the various forms of media to take me down paths away from God because I allowed the wordly views and cultural appeal that can be found there to influence my thinking. It’s easy to get caught up in all the “fun stuff”. Even when the appeal has not been necessarily something that should hinder my relationships, I have let the entertainment of it gobble up large portions of my time. It’s easy to get caught up in playing a fun computer game for hours at a time, days at a time because of the addictive fun. When our media gadgets start to crowd out our time with God, however, and to shuffle our priority list…..it’s time for a Reality Check.
God is all about communication, gaining of knowledge, and connecting with others in rich and fulfilling ways. Today, more than ever, we have tools at our fingertips to easily access information and to connect with the world around us. Online, I have found numerous bible study aides, as well as Christian blogs, videos, and social sites that have encouraged me, inspired me, increased my knowledge of God and connected me with other believers. Knowing how easy it is to fall prey to wrong influences and distractions, I try to navigate through these pathways keeping in mind that I should focus on those things that would honor and please Him. I try to gaurd my time and priorities carefully.
I believe God can richly bless us through the medium of modern technological communication. At the end of the day, however, we should assess if we have been good stewards of how we have used our resources. It’s not enough to ask ” God, can You hear me now?”……but rather “God, can I hear You now?”
This post is linked to Women Living Well Media Mondays
I was content with a cell phone with very primitive features while the world around me kept upgrading and upgrading into the advanced texting and internet surfing fastlane. I was shocked when I watched my teenager who had never had a cell phone of her own, text with finger fast reflexes and a texting language that was Greek to me. How did she learn that I thought? And then I realized that in her world, it was a necessary social function.
You may be relieved to know that I have finally moved into the current century of technology. I upgraded to a phone that allows me to text with ease, and I have become more adept at texting and chatting. I enjoy the ease of communication that comes with a quick text that can be sent and responded to at convenience, and I enjoy the chat box dialogue with friends and family on the internet. But, I am disturbed by the impersonal tone that inevitably occurs to a relationship when all or most of the interaction you have with someone is via text or chat.
I was concerned when I heard a mother of a teenager talk about how her daughter will not answer the phone when she tries to call her, but will send her a text message saying “What do you want?”. In my opinion, that is rude and disrespectful but to some it is considered the accepted norm of communication and the one they prefer. I don’t think I want my child learning that is normal communication. I want them to still know how to pick up a phone and be personable enough to talk to someone. No matter how convenient, the technological dialogue can not replace the meaningful changes in voicetones (whether subtle or distinct), the sound of laughter, the tenderness of a heartfelt wish. The person you think you get to know via back and forth exchanges of technical chit chat, may not be as you imagined. In fact, when in person you do meet, you may be surprised at the unexpected awkwardness that replaces the comfortable connnection you thought you had. Technological dialogue is a necessary function in today’s society, but I think something precious is being lost to this new generation who are so comfortable with relating to a person via an impersonal screen.