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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Does it REALLY matter?

I have a 12 year old son who loves the Star Wars Saga. There are many awesome lessons to teach through these movies. But, as we were watching Episode III the last time, I realized again how important it is to LISTEN to what is being said (both intentionally and unintentionally), talk to my kids about the "message," and always remember that the secular world is usually not a "friend" to Christianity.

In this episode, Anakin, the once noble Jedi knight, has alligned himself to the evil Dark Side.

When he is battling his teacher, Obi Wan Kanobi, Anakin says,
"If you are not with me, you're against me."
Master Kanobi responds, "Only Siths (evil) deal in absolutes."
When I heard this, a chill went down my spine. I had probably watched this movie at least three times before, but hadn't noticed it until now.
Anakin's words sounded much like Jesus' when He said, "He who is not with Me is against Me..." (Luke 11:23)

Evil Siths deal in abolutes.

Absolute Truth= Evil
Is the Bible absolute truth? Is the Bible like the Siths?
Do you see the confusion a child may have?

It can be a confusing to be "in the world, but not of the world "(John 7:14-15). As Believers, we LIVE in this world and we are to be SALT and LIGHT to those around us in the world, but we don't want the "world" to BE IN US.

"Do not be conformed to the patterns of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.."-Romans 12:2

To live a transformed Christian life, we cannot be conformed to the world and its ideals. We can't be both transformed and conformed at the same time. We can only be one or the other.
God empowers us to be holy, sanctified, and set apart from the world- in Him and for Him!

Thankfully, we don’t live this way on our own or in our own strength. We have a still, small voice that helps us and guides us. The Holy Spirit helps us to make choices between Godly and ungodly.
Our choices in life need to glorify God.
Even little things like the TV shows and movies we watch, lyrics we listen to, the clothes we wear, and the books, magazines, and websites we read are important. We must ask ourselves with every choice, “Is this pleasing to God? Do my words glorify God? Would Jesus buy this magazine? Would God enjoy this movie, or would He be embarrassed by it?”

You may be wondering why little things like TV shows or magazines matter so much. You may be thinking, “I’m not hurting anyone watching this show. I’m just relaxing. It’s only TV. The kids are in bed. I’m an adult. It doesn’t matter.”

Does it matter?

The Bible warns us to be careful. Peter tells us “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Imagine yourself lying on the couch late at night, flipping channels and being drawn to MTV or an immoral reality show. You allow the channel to linger there for awhile, even though you feel a tinge of discomfort. The show has peaked your curiosity. You reason with yourself that watching these shows couldn’t be harmful. You aren’t hurting anyone.

But ponder this. When you are drowsy and inattentive, you become easy prey for the enemy, “who prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Lions usually hunt at night, and there you are at night, feeding on worldly filth, allowing it to penetrate your heart. Now you have opened a door for him, allowing him a foothold.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:22-23, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.” Don’t fill your eyes with images of the world that can never be erased. Proverbs 4:23 says:

Guard what goes through your eyes into your heart! These reality shows are making a mockery of marriage and God’s plan for our best. We have shows that tell us that God’s creation isn’t nearly good enough, so we will change it by having several plastic surgeries. It is so easy to be sucked in to these shows, and then our ideals and morals begin conforming to fit with what we are watching.

Sometimes, we feel a tinge of discomfort while doing something that isn’t glorifying to God. We don’t realize it, but this is the Holy Spirit, the still, small voice inside of us trying to help us, trying to guide us. In today’s society we hear that we shouldn’t feel “guilty.” We hear things like, “Feeling guilty is wrong and teaching others about guilt is wrong. If you are not hurting anyone else, then everything is okay. We are in our own homes. We are consenting adults. God is a God of love, and He wouldn’t make us feel guilty.”

God is a God of love and that is why He instilled in us this guide. Feeling a sense of conviction or feeling "guilty" is a mechanism created in us by God to help us make the right choices. This mechanism helps us to discern what is right and what is wrong. It shows us when we sin.

When we feel uncomfortable watching a TV show, music video, or a movie, or listening to the lyrics of songs, or wearing provocative clothing, there is a reason for it! God is speaking to us. God gives us the Holy Spirit to help us make choices for Him, to live a godly life. God doesn’t leave us on our own, “fending for ourselves.” He gives us His Word to teach us and His Spirit or Counselor to guide us.

Now there is a difference between the Holy Spirit guiding us and the enemy condemning us when we make wrong choices. The Holy Spirit gives us a warning before we sin or while we are sinning to STOP. The enemy, on the other hand, heaps on condemnation after the fact. When we have already done something, he comes in telling us how awful we are for doing it. The enemy doesn’t warn us to stop, he reminds us constantly of what we have done when it’s over.


“Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

God forgives our sin and empowers us to walk in FREEDOM from sin.
So....I found I need to make CHOICES.



*****WARNING!*****

Don't remove yourself from the world completely! I have swung too far in both directions- being completely removed from the world and too tied to the world. If I am in a "bubble", completely removed from the world, how can I be "SALT and LIGHT", leading unbelievers to Christ? How can the Light of Jesus shine through me into the darkness of the world, offering salvation and LIFE?

Jesus taught, walked with, touched, and ate dinner with sinners- prostitutes and tax collectors, making the Pharisees furious! He loved the unlovely, the dirty, the leper.... We are to love them as well!



Prayer
Father God, I give You all glory and honor and praise! I thank you for your Word to help me and I thank You for Your Spirit to guide me. I pray God that you would open the eyes of my heart. I pray that You would give me a Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that I may know You better. I pray, Lord, that You will help me seek You out, not the world. Help me God to store up my treasures in Heaven, not here on earth. I pray that I would have ears to hear You and a heart to follow You. Your Word says I am strong in the Lord. Give me a boldness, Lord and a confidence to be strong in You and for you. Help me to listen to the Holy Spirit. Remind me always to ask, “Does this bring God glory?” Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

PLEASE TAKE A MINUTE A WATCH THIS POWERFUL VIDEO, SLOW FADE, BY CASTING CROWNS.

Questions

1. Are there areas in your life where you have become “cozy in the world?” Have you developed habits that don’t glorify God? Take a few moments to journal here what they are. Ask God to help you surrender these areas to Him.

2. Read 2Timothy 3:1-9. Do you see any similarities between what Paul describes as “Godlessness” and today?


Please visit me at my personal blog,



Blessings,
Tracy

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17 Comments:

Blogger Jes said...

nice blog! =)
God Bless!

February 4, 2009 at 5:08 AM  
Blogger Homesteader in Training said...

Asking the question "Will the glorify God" can keep you from doing, saying, wearing,and looking at a lot. Great post!
Blessings,
Kim

February 4, 2009 at 5:10 AM  
Blogger Susan Storm Smith said...

Loved this blog. I was watching on hulu.com the other night a "harmless" old movie that in the 80s I had adored. Watching it now as a Christian it was amazing at how demonic it really was.

Yes, we must stay in tune with what the Bible says and with what is around us and our families.
Great insights given in your blog!

February 4, 2009 at 7:07 AM  
Blogger Shannon Jacobyansky said...

Thanks for writing this post! Since my kiddos were little I have monitored the TV with an iron fist. It is difficult when the world says, "It's harmless...it's just a show."

My oldest is now 14 and although my kids still call my the queen of TV monitoring, I watch things with them and look for teachable moments. If the show gets to bad...it's off...no questions asked.

You can't even assume just because it is rated "G"....it's an o.k. movie. I remember not allowing my kids to watch 101 Dalmations because of the many references to others being itiots and stupid...two words which have not been allowed to be spoken to others in our home.

February 4, 2009 at 7:32 AM  
Anonymous Twinkle Mom @ Sunflower Faith said...

Fantastic post and so true; We live in a world where there are hard choices that are becoming harder each day and we have to decide whom it is that we are living for. Love how you use the analogy of Star Wars!

When you said,Even little things like the TV shows and movies we watch, lyrics we listen to, the clothes we wear, and the books, magazines, and websites we read are important. We must ask ourselves with every choice, “Is this pleasing to God? Do my words glorify God? Would Jesus buy this magazine? Would God enjoy this movie, or would He be embarrassed by it?”, it's so true, as Christians we have to stop compromising our faith just because it "feels good, so God doesn't mind". If it's going to cause us to stumble or bear bad witness, we have to stop lying to ourselves that "no one will know" OR "it's okay" won't hurt us.

Too many we live a life of double lives and often we worry more what others think then what our Heavenly Father thinks and that weakness can cause us to stumble more than we know.

February 4, 2009 at 8:37 AM  
Blogger Bethsmiles said...

This is wonderful. I really needed this affirmation today. This is something God is really working in me right now. I am thankful that His reminders to me can also come from the internet!!

February 4, 2009 at 9:34 AM  
Blogger Sweet Magnolia said...

Tracy ...thank you so much for being bold enough to write this devotion today !!! ..My T.V. along with many of the other things you have mentioned have been cleaned up for a long time now ..Because I had to ask myself if The Lord were sitting here with me (which he is) what would he think of this show or this book etc. ? And I concluded he would have been sad that I was living in the world part time ...and he would not have approved. It's hard sometimes when i hear Christian family or friends discussing the latest t.v. show and I wonder how they can watch it ..but I tr to remember I was there too and that God had to work in my heart and open my eyes ..I only hope for them that it's sooner than later ..because now I am sad that so much of that rotten junk went into my mind. I pray for God to wash it clean all the time !

February 4, 2009 at 10:33 AM  
Blogger Laurie Ann said...

We can't have one eye watching/hearing bad and one eye on God. We have to make that choice. God in His infinite wisdom has blessed us with the ability to hear that still small voice. The Holy Spirit truly does impart truth upon us and we need to listen to Him. When we see those warning signs or feel uncomfortable we need to make that change.

Awesome post, Tracy. Loved the visual about the lion prowling at night.

February 4, 2009 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger Mel said...

This is a struggle for me in the area of reading...I love books and read alot, but I too have to guard what I am putting into my mind.

February 4, 2009 at 1:06 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

Great devotional Tracy.

If we're not careful any of us can fall away. Like the song says, it's a SLOW fade!!

Thanks for sharing this powerful teaching♥

February 4, 2009 at 2:22 PM  
Blogger MyThoughtExactly said...

Awesome post! So true. Thanks for sharing.

February 4, 2009 at 2:33 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

I enjoyed this, bless you.

February 4, 2009 at 8:01 PM  
Anonymous Promise In My Pocket, God's Word on the Go... said...

Thank you for the post!

February 5, 2009 at 12:26 AM  
Blogger ktwalden said...

Amen! Well written and something I believe we all can relate to and ponder....

February 5, 2009 at 8:31 AM  
Blogger Alexia said...

We have been discussing this very thing in church on Sunday. I've been convicted about some of the "harmless" entertainment that we watch and read lately and have started to clean out our collections. It's important to me that I give my boys a Godly Heritage and to do that I have to make sure that our entertainment is acceptable to HIM.

February 5, 2009 at 9:23 AM  
OpenID christinnjon said...

LOL Too funny! I was totally going to suggest "Slow Fade" as I was reading this. Very good!

One thing we do need to be very careful about when speaking of the world or those who have not accepted Jesus as Lord...and I do not say this with pointing fingers, because I am totally talking to me, too!! But it is enlightening and might help in the future. When we (all of us who serve the Lord) speak of the world, we often say "them". I think it important that we choose our wording carefully so as not to make people think we are better. Because really, we are all sinners...it all comes down to making a choice...to recognize our sin and follow Jesus, or to not. But we'll have a better time relating to others who may not fully understand what the Gospel is about if we don't make them feel inferior to us by putting others in a "them" category. It is not "us" and "them". We are all created by the same Creator and each have an equal chance to make the choice. :)
Last night I learned that there are atheists browsing my blog. What are they seeing when they read about me and my life as a Christian woman? Do I turn others off or is it inviting?
Even if our blogs attract more of one kind of audience, it is not exempt from other's stumbling across and stopping for a spell to see what we're about. :)
God bless you and all you do here. Continue to challenge us and make us think! That's what we need to continue to grow in Him!

February 5, 2009 at 1:13 PM  
Blogger LauraLee Shaw said...

Your prayer should be a keepsake for all to pray along with.

And this right here:
If I am in a "bubble", completely removed from the world, how can I be "SALT and LIGHT", leading unbelievers to Christ? How can the Light of Jesus shine through me into the darkness of the world, offering salvation and LIFE?

Did you hear my "Amen"? AMEN!!!!

February 7, 2009 at 12:38 AM  

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