FULLY ALIVE!

Your life will be as bright as the noonday sun. Job 11:17


Leave a comment

Inextricably Linked

This semester I asked my college seniors to unplug for one weekend.  No cell phone.  No laptop, iPad, desktop, etc.  No Twitter.  No Facebook.  No Instagram.  No Internet.

“No way!” they said.

But they did.

And they shared their stories which were hilarious – the reaching for the phone that was not there, the lost “don’t know what to do with myself” feelings, the disconnect, the struggle to get anything done without the Internet.

People are more connected to one another than ever before because ours is an Internet and Social Networking world.  When we are not talking, we are texting or instant-messaging or Skyping or tweeting or something. We are connected, and yet we are not.

Michael Price writes in his work, Alone in the Crowd, that we are “more lonely and distant from one another” in our “unplugged lives.”  It’s true.  Most any teenager will tell you that they’d rather text than talk.  And while a lot of adults won’t readily admit it, they, too, would rather email than talk.

We live in neighborhoods but don’t know our neighbors.  We work in offices but don’t know our cubicle mates.  We go to churches but don’t know our fellow parishioners.  Sometimes we live in houses and don’t know our family members!  Not really.

We were made to be social creatures.  In Genesis 2, God saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone and created for him a mate.  So why do we retreat behind locked doors, shut blinds and closed minds?  Well, probably for one – it’s just easier.  Less drama and less headache.  Admittedly, I’ve had my days when I have longed for an island.  But, again, we weren’t designed for long-term island living.  At least not in the sense that I mean – ALONE!

Like it or not, our lives are inextricably linked.  The choices we make affect others. Deuteronomy 30:19 (NASB) says, “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants…” Every day you are choosing for yourself but also for your descendants. You must make decisions today with tomorrow’s impact in mind, and you must consider current choices in light of future generations.

Are you choosing wisely?  Someone’s life is inextricably linked with yours and the choices you make!  Ponder that this week along with the following Scriptures and questions.

Monday: Joshua 24:15 (NASB)

“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Questions for Reflection:  Whom or what have you chosen to serve? What is the impact of your choice on your descendants – immediate (now) and later?  You may say, “I haven’t chosen.” Did you know that by not choosing you are choosing?

Tuesday: 1 Peter 2:9 (NASB)

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;”

Questions for Reflection: Make note of the choices you make today – what to wear, how to drive, whether to speak to someone you pass on the street or in the hallway at work, what to eat for dinner, etc. How many choices did you make? They may seem insignificant, but what is the impact of each decision – for you, for those around you – immediate (now) and later? Do your choices reflect well on you? On your Lord?

Wednesday: Romans 2:6-8 (NASB)

“who will render to each person according to his deeds:  to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life;  but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.”

Questions for Reflection: Consider two choices you have made in the past – one selfless, one selfish. What has been the return on those choices – for you? For those you love? What, if anything, do you need to change as you go forward?

Thursday: Proverbs 14:12 (ESV)

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”

Questions for Reflection: How do you make choices? Do you do what you think seems right, or do you pray for wisdom and direction?

Friday: Biblical Principles for Making Wise Decisions

www.watermark.org/blog/decision-making-principles/

Questions for Reflection: After reading the given Scriptures, reflect on each of the 10 questions found at this site.


Leave a comment

Too Much or Not Enough

I was reading the notes captured from an interview between Dolly Parton and Allison Glock (for Southern Living Magazine).  Dolly was summarizing 10 lessons she had learned while filming Steel Magnolias.  Lesson #7 was “There is No Such Thing as Too Much.”  Specifically Dolly was quoted as saying that this applied to “hair, jewelry, laughter, heel height, cake, cleavage, pulled pork, emotion, faith, persistence and revelation. Contrary to the old adage, less is actually less and more is divine.”

Well, there are a few of these that I might agree with.  You know I really like jewelry – and the bigger, bolder, quirkier and unique, the better.  And in the words of Emeril, “Pork fat rules!” But, it seems that we have become a society where “too much” is the norm.

Too much TV.  Remember when it used to sign off at midnight?  Now there’s programming for every hour of the day.  Nielsen says the average American watches about 33 hours of television each week.  Doesn’t sound like much to you?  Well, that’s about 71.5 days/year just watching television.  And remember, this is average.  Some people watch much more.  Too much?

Too much food. (Am I really typing this?)  The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) says we suffer from “portion distortion.”  In the same report, the NHLBI says that 20 years ago the average fast food cheeseburger contained 333 calories; today it offers a whopping 590 calories.  Sodas came in cute 6.5 ounce bottles (remember those cute little green Coke bottles).  Today single-serve sodas commonly offer 20 ounces and 250 calories.  Too much?

Too much cell phone.  I am amazed every day.  By who has a cell phone.  Like Kindergarteners.  Really?  By how often people talk on their cell phones. (Nielsen says 34 hours each week – that’s a week more than we watch television!)  By where people talk on their cell phones.  My doctor’s office has a sign that reads:  You may be denied service if you are talking on your cell phone.  Really?  There has to be a reason why he posted that sign.  Too much!

Too much shopping.  Based on an analysis of Federal Reserve statistics and other government data, the average household owes $7,281 on their cards; looking only at indebted households, the average outstanding balance rises to $15,607. Too much!

Too much stuff.  A UCLA study says, “The rise of Costco and similar stores has prompted so much stockpiling — you never know when you’ll need 600 Dixie cups or a 50-pound bag of sugar — that three out of four garages are too full to hold cars.” (While watching those 33 hours of television did you by any chance watch the popular show, Hoarders?)  Too much!

I could continue, but it would probably be too much for you to really take in, so I will offer just one more.

The American Bible Society reports that 88% of American households own a Bible, 80% think the Bible is sacred, 61% wish they read the Bible more and 37% of those households actually read the Bible. Not enough.

So how much of what should you be doing?  I cannot say for you, but I will suggest you assess your own habits and make adjustments asking yourself just two questions – Too much?  Not enough?

Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. (1 Corinthians 9:25 ESV)

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity… (Titus 2:7 ESV)

Let your moderation be known unto all men. (Philippians 4:5 KJV)

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Joshua 1:8 ESV)

With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:10-11 ESV)

But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. (Matthew 22:29 ESV)