It’s a Love-Hate Kinda Thing

Do you ever feel like you have a love-hate relationship with your phone? (No need to clarify I’m referring to a cell phone because house phones are almost obsolete these days for most families.) Or just technology in general? We live in an age where all of our advances in technology can be both a blessing and a curse. I’ve been conflicted and convicted quite often lately regarding my screen time, particularly with my phone. Long gone are the days when a cell phone was just a phone. They’re way too smart for that now. In reality, actually placing a call is probably the least of how they’re used these days. From texting and emails to games and social media and everything in between, it’s all accessible with a swipe of your fingertip, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So before your toes start getting stepped on, just remember mine have been stomped on quite a bit lately, hence the love-hate relationship and the prompting of this post.

I didn’t give in to the smart phone craze immediately. I knew if I had one I would get sucked into checking my email, browsing Pinterest and stalking people on Facebook way to easily. So I kept putting it off and putting it off…until I had my first child. Then I caved. Because of course I needed a phone that could take high definition pictures to send to family and friends, right? What first time mom is not obsessed with taking pictures of her beloved child? Which brings me to my first point…picture overload! I love having the ability to capture picturesque moments at basically any moment of the day. There are so many memories that were captured and for that I’m thankful. But as I’ve been organizing printed pictures that have accumulated over the last three years and placing them into albums, I’ve realized I have SO MANY PICTURES…probably TOO MANY if we’re down right honest. Rather than just capturing those truly special occasions, it’s almost as if we often try to capture every moment. Which then takes away from just enjoying the moment.

My husband and I have discussed the cell phone/social media debacle many a times, particularly in how it can affect relationships. On the love side, it enables us to stay more connected in multiple ways with those who live great distances away. But on the flip side, I believe it can do a disservice at times to those we are actually spending time with. Have you ever people watched at a restaurant, park, etc. where a family or group of friends are together and noticed how much time is spent looking down at phones rather than up making eye contact? Try it sometime. I promise you’ll be amazed. When we first got married before either of us even had a smart phone, Matthew and I made rule that has been maintained ever since: No phones at the table. No matter if it’s at home or out, there’s not texting, calling or surfing during a mealtime. Surely everything can wait at least 30 minutes.

Now, since we’re so accustomed to having everything at our fingertips instantly, we also have grown to expect instant responses. What’s the deal when we text, call or email someone and they don’t respond within a certain time frame? After all, my phone says it was delivered and read, correct? And I just saw them logged in on FB as they posted their most recent selfie. The problem is we live in a world that promotes instant gratification and self-centeredness; therefore we forget that everybody has a life and that their life doesn’t revolve around us.

It seems as if the human race has evolved into growing an extra appendage during this technology explosion too. We carry our phones EVERYWHERE we go. And if we forget it, it’s almost like a part of us has been amputated. We feel lost, incomplete and frantic. When was the last time you left your phone at home, on purpose, to run to the grocery store? Are you kidding? What if there was an emergency and someone needed me that instant? You may laugh, but we all know it’s true. Matthew has been somewhat liberated in his job this year. He’s not allowed to have a cell phone at all in his office. Every morning he locks it up before entering his building and doesn’t get it back until the end of the day when he leaves. I’m almost kind of envious.

So what even prompted this long rant of a blog? What was the straw that broke the camel’s back? Well I knew I had been having my nose in my phone more often than usual and had already been consciously trying to set some limitations. But then my two year old (who’s all into pretend play and imitating others) came walking in one day “checking his email” on a baby toy. Monkey see monkey do.

Now that I’m getting ready to come down off my soapbox, I want to leave us with a challenge. I’m challenging myself and want to challenge you as well to set some limitations and establish some ground rules with our phone time. Here are some suggestions for starters.

  • No phones at the table. Let mealtime be face to face time only.
  • Take social media off your phone. I recently deleted FB off my phone so it’s not as easily accessible and I have to go to my actual computer to check it. And I limit myself to checking it only once or twice a day.
  • Power off. Make a point to physically power off your phone for a set time everyday or even just once a week. Matthew and I have talked about having a set day once a week or so where our phones are ONLY used for calls. No texts, emails, videos, etc. We haven’t put it into practice yet, but I do think it’s a great idea. Maybe we could call it Tech-free Thursday or Freedom Friday.
  • Out of sight, out of mind. When family and friends are over, put it out of sight and earshot or silence it.
  • Live dangerously and go to the store sometime without it.

What are your suggestions? Does your family already have ground rules? If so I’d love to hear them as I try to find balance in this love-hate relationship!

And just for the record, if you’re one of the few who has not given in to the smart phone era, I applaud you! Because once you’re in it’s like quicksand, there’s no turning back!

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Speak O Lord-A Daily Prayer

May this be an ever daily prayer as we walk with Christ and await His return.

Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your Holy Word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes for Your glory.

Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
Holy reverence, true humility;
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of power that can never fail-
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.

Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us-
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we’ll stand on Your promises,
And by faith we’ll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory.

By Keith and Kristyn Getty

Speak O Lord

LOVE 101, PART 5

Here it is. The final segment.

THE HOW

How does God/Christ show their love for us?

  • By giving His only begotten son      John 3:16
  • It’s impartial and takes care of the less fortunate       Deuteronomy 10:17-18
  • Jesus loves us just like God loves him.       John 15:9
  • By having Christ die for us even while we were still sinners       Romans 5:8
  • Jesus laid down His life for us       1 John 3:16
  • God sent His son for us to have life       1 John 4:9-10

How should we love God?

  • With ALL of our heart, mind, soul and strength       Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27
  • Delightfully       Psalm 37:4
  • By fearing Him, walking in all His ways, serving Him with all of our heart and soul, keeping His commands, statutes and ordinances             Deuteronomy 10:12-13, 11:1
  • Abiding in His love       John 15:9

 

How should we love others?

  • As ourselves             Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:27
  • By laying down our lives for them      John 15:13, 1 John 3:16b
  • Through our deeds       1 John 3:18
  • Just as Jesus loved us, a Christ-like love       John 15:12
  • Loving even your enemies selflessly and sacrificially, as well as those who take advantage of you. Do good and lend without expecting anything in return.       Luke 6:27-35
  • Without being hypocritical       Romans 12:9
  • Fervently with a sincere heart       1 Peter 1:22
  • Like Jonathan loved David, as much as his own life       1 Samuel 20:17

How big and great is love?

  • A marital love should be as strong as death, unable to be quenched and priceless.     Song of Solomon 8:6-7
  • God’s love is forever secure and impossible to be separated from us.       Romans 8:35-39

Food for thought.

  1. How much of you heart, soul, mind and strength does God really have? All? Or just the portions you’ve designated for Him?
  2. How can we “lay down” our lives for others? By sacrificing our time and energy? Giving up finances? Putting aside our own selfishness and feelings?
  3. How can you love both God and others better this week?

Just sit back and try to take in The Love of God.

LOVE 101, PART 4

THE WHY

 Why does God love us?

  • Because He IS love      1 John 4:8
  • So that we may live through Jesus      1 John 4:9
  • Because He is faithful and made a promise to keep his love to those who love Him and keep His commandments      Deuteronomy 7:7-9
  • Because He is our creator and we were created FOR Him      Colossians 1:16

Why should we love God?

  • Because He first loved us      1 John 4:19
  • Because we will then receive His crown of life      James 1:12
  • Because He hears our voices and our cries to Him      Psalm 116:1
  • Because we have been redeemed with the precious blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ His son      1 Peter 1:18-19

Why should we love others?

  • Because God so loved us (sin and all)      1 John 4:11

  • Because everything is for not if we don’t have love      1 Corinthians 13:1-3
  • Because it is the greatest of all      1 Corinthians 13:13
  • Because it covers a multitude of sins and transgressions      Proverbs 10:13; 1 Peter 4:8
  • Because it creates unity      Colossians 3:14
  • Because God will not forget the love you have shown to others       Hebrews 6:10
  • So others will see and know that we are Christ’s disciples      John 13:35

Food for thought.

  1. Why have you not been loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength? What’s taking His place?
  2. Why do we pick and choose whom to show love to based on our feelings and circumstances when God chooses to still love us impartially despite our partiality?

 

O how I love Jesus because He first loved me!

LOVE 101, PART 3

THE WHEN

 When did God love us?

  • From of old     Psalm 25:6
  • First      1 John 4:19
  • From everlasting to everlasting      Psalm 103:17, Jeremiah 31:3
  • Even while we were still sinners      Romans 5:8

When do we start loving God?

  • After He loved us first      1 John 4:19
  • After His Holy Spirit is poured out on us      Romans 5:5

When do we love others?

  • At all times      Proverbs 17:7
  • Even after being wronged 70×7 times because love holds no record of wrong      Matthew 18:21-22, 1 Corinthians 13:5
  • Even when they don’t love us back   Hosea 3:1

 

THE WHERE

 Where does love come from?

  • God      1 John 4:7

Where is God’s love?

  • Surrounding His people      Psalm 125:2
  • Perfected in us      1 John 4:12
  • Abiding in us as believers      1 John 4:16

Where are we to love others?

  • In all we do      1 Corinthians 16:14
  • In service to them      Galatians 5:13

Food for thought.

  1. When was the last time you thanked God for His love?
  2. When was the last time you told Him you loved him too?
  3. Where is God’s love reflected most in your life? The least?
  4. Where have you seen God’s love demonstrated this week?

 

LOVE 101, PART 2

THE WHAT

What does God’s love look like?

  • It’s the sacrifice of His only begotten son for the world.    John 3:16
  • It’s Jesus giving himself up for as an offering, sacrifice and fragrant aroma to God.     Ephesians 5:2
  • It’s joyful, calming and He’s excited about it.    Zephaniah 3:17
  • It pardons iniquity, does not retain anger forever and is unchanging.    Micah 7:18
  • It’s bigger, greater and stronger than anything. It cannot be taken from us.    Romans 8:38-39
  • It’s a Father to child love.    1 John 3:1
  • It’s Him sending His son to be the propitiation for our sins so we might live through Him.    1 John 4: 9-10

What should our love look like?

  • It’s loving God and loving others.    Mark 12:30-31
  • It keeps God’s word.    1 John 2:5
  • It’s loving God, not the world or things of the world.    1 John 2:15
  • It’s fearing God, walking in His ways, loving Him and serving Him.    Deuteronomy 10:12
  • It does no wrong to a neighbor.    Romans 13:10
  • It should be patient, kind and rejoices with truth. It bears, believes, hopes and endures all things. It is never failing.    1 Corinthians 13:4-8
  • It edifies.    1 Corinthians 8:1

Food for thought.

  1. What do you love most about God’s love for you?
  2. What can you do to show love to God?
  3. What part of biblical love is most difficult for you to practice? And how can you challenge yourself to love more like Christ in that area?

Loving is hard. Loving biblically is even harder. But when we let our hearts be consumed with God’s love for us, we will naturally begin to love others in the same way.

 

Love 101, Part 1

As I began my quiet time last week I was planning to start studying 1 John, but then God led me elsewhere. Love became the focus. God’s love for us, as well as our love for God and others. So what better way to find out more about a subject matter than to ask these basic questions: WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, and HOW.

THE WHO

Who is love?

  • God is love.        1 John 4:8,16

Who does God love?

  • The world                John 3:16
  • Israel                        2 Chronicles 9:8
  • Us                              Ephesians 2:4-6; 1 John 4:10-11
  • You                            John 6:27
  • A cheerful giver     2 Corinthians 9:7
  • The church              Ephesians 5:25

Who are we to love?

  • The Lord our God      Mark 12:30, Deut. 6:5, Joshua 23:11
  • Our neighbors (as ourselves)     Mark 12:28-31
  • One another       John 15:12, Matthew 13:34-35, 1 John 4:7,  1 John 3:11
  • The neglected, abused and ones taken advantage of (Example of Good Samaritan)                        Luke 10:30-37
  • Your enemy                Romans 12:20
  • Husbands: your wives     Ephesians 5:25, 28
  • Your brother               1 John 4:21
  • Foreigners                   Leviticus 19:33-34

Food for thought.

  1. Who do you love most? God? Family? Self?
  2. Who do you love to love?
  3. Who are you refusing or neglecting to love?
  4. Who is God calling you to love that is in desparate need of an act of love?

The greatest commandment (Mark 12:30-31) can be summed up in five words.

LOVE GOD AND LOVE PEOPLE.