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!

Advertisements

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 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.

 

God vs. Satan (Part 2 of 2)

Continuing on with truths regarding God and Satan.

God is…light

  • John 1:6-9 He is the true Light and John the Baptist came before Him (Jesus) to testify about Him; He enlightens man
  • John 8:12, 9:5 He’s the Light of the world and brings the light of life to those who follow
  • John 12:35-36 Jesus encouraged followers to walk with and believe in the Light so that they would not be overcome by darkness and would become sons of Light

Satan is…darkness

  • 2 Corinthians 11:14 He disguises himself as an angel of light

God is…Lord over all

  • Deuteronomy 10:17 He is God of gods, Lord of lords, the great, the mighty and the awesome God
  • 1 Timothy 6:15 The only Sovereign, King of kings, Lord of lords
  • Revelation 17:14 He will overcome those who wage war against Him because He is Lord of lords and King of kings
  • Revelation 19:16 His name is written on His robe and thigh-King of Kings and Lord of Lords
  • Romans 10:11-13 He is Lord of all, whether Jew or Greek any who call on His name will receive His riches
  • Acts 17:24 He made the world and all things in it and is Lord of Heaven and Earth

Satan is…only a god of this world

  • John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11 The ruler of this world has been cast down, judged and has no hold on Christ
  • 1 John 5:19 We (believers in Christ) are of God, but the whole world lies in the power of the evil one

 

God is…all knowing

  • Job 34:21-22 He sees all the steps of man and there is no where to hide from Him
  • Psalm 139:2,4 He knows when we sit and rise; He understands our thoughts (even when we don’t understand ourselves); He even knows the words we will speak before they’re spoken
  • Psalm 147:5 His understanding is infinite
  • Proverbs 5:21, 15:3 His eyes are watching all and know all

God is…love    1 John 4:8, 16

God is…unchangeable    Malachi 3:6

And last but certainly not least, my favorite truths that bring the utmost hope in this dark world. 

God is…VICTORIOUS and WILL REIGN FOREVER!

  • Psalm 146:10 He will reign forever to all generations
  • Revelation 11:15 The world’s kingdom becomes the Lord’s and His Christ’s and He will reign forever and ever
  • Revelation 19:15, 20-21 He strikes down the nations with the sword of His mouth
  • Revelation 22:5 He is the light of Heaven, illuminating it and reigning forever and ever

Satan is…DEFEATED!

  • Genesis 3:15 His end fate is foretold in the beginning; he will be crushed
  • James 4:7 He will flee from us when we submit to God and resist him.
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:8 He will be slain with only the breath of the Lord’s mouth
  • Revelation 20:7-10 Fire came down and consumed the nations against God; Satan is cast into the lake of fire to be tormented for eternity
  • 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 Death has been swallowed up in victory through our Lord Jesus Christ
  • Revelation 12:12 Satan knows his time is limited and will soon come to an end

*Bonus thought: The cross would seem to be Satan’s triumph when in fact it was his defeat. And out of it would flow the greatest good ever to come to the world. (Adapted from NASB Study Bible notes)

O’ Victory in Jesus my Savior forever!

 

God vs. Satan

For the last few days I’ve been focusing my quiet time on studying exactly who and what God is vs. who and what Satan is/is not. Here’s what I’ve found so far. Keep in mind that because Jesus says, “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30), scriptures that are directly referring to Jesus will in turn also be referring to God the Father.

God is…the beginning, the first

  • Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created everything, so actually He was even before the beginning.
  • Isaiah 41:4 He is the first
  • Revelation 1:8, 21:6, 22:13 He is the Alpha and Omega, beginning and end, first and last, who was, is and is to come

Satan is…a creation by God

  • Colossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created both in Heaven and on earth…all things have been created through Him and for Him.

God is…eternal

  • Deuteronomy 33:27 The eternal God is a dwelling place
  • Isaiah 9:6 He is our eternal Father
  • Romans 16:25-26 The eternal God has established you and revealed the mystery of the Gospel to you
  • 1 Timothy 1:17 He is the eternal King

Satan is…to be tormented for eternity

  • Revelation 20:10 He is thrown into the lake of fire and tormented day and night forever and ever

*Bonus thought: Only God is purely eternal. Everything and everyone else is gifted eternity through Him whether it be eternal life or torment. But God has always been eternal.

God is…all powerful

  • Jeremiah 27:5, 32:17,27 He made the Heavens and earth by His great power; nothing is too difficult for Him
  • Genesis 18:14 Nothing is too difficult, not even to make a old woman bear a child
  • Mark 10:27 All things are possible with God

Satan is…limited in power

  • Job 1:12 God distributed power to Satan but also put restrictions on it
  • Revelation 17:15-17 God even controls Satan’s plans and intentions for evil because He has a greater purpose in mind

God is…ever present

  • Psalm 139:7-8 God’s presence and Spirit is everywhere from Heaven to Sheol, you cannot flee from it
  • 1 Kings 8:27 God cannot be contained, even in the highest heaven
  • 1 Corinthians 3:16 His Spirit dwells within every believer
  • Genesis 26:24, 28:15; Isaiah 41:10; Matthew 28:19-20 From Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to Isaiah to believers today God has always and will always be with his people

Satan is…restricted and will be confined

  • Job 1:6-7 He roams and walks the earth then presents himself to God
  • Luke 10:18 He was cast out of Heaven
  • Revelation 20:1-3 He is bound and sealed in the abyss for 1,000 years then released in versus 7-9
  • Revelation 20:10 He is thrown into the lake of fire to be tormented day and night forever

God is…good and holy

  • Mark 10:18, Luke 18:19 No one is good except God alone
  • Psalm 5:4 No evil dwells in Him
  • Leviticus 11:45, 19:2; 1Peter 1:15-16 Be holy because He is holy
  • 1 Samuel 2:2 No one is holy like the Lord
  • Psalm 99:5,9 Exalt and worship Him for He is holy
  • Revelation 4:8 Heavenly creatures worship Him crying “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God the Almighty”

Satan is…full of sin and evil

  • 1 John 3:8 He has sinned from the beginning
  • Matthew 13:19 He snatches God’s truth out of the hearts of those who don’t understand it
  • Ephesians 6:16 He throws flaming arrows at God’s children

God is…truth

  • John 14:6 He is the way, the truth and the life
  • Revelation 3:7,14 He is holy and true and a faithful, true witness
  • Revelation 19:11 He is called faithful and true
  • Revelation 21:5, 22:6 His words are faithful and true

Satan is…a deceptive liar

  • Genesis 3:1 He was more crafty than any other beast God created
  • Genesis 3:13-14 He deceived Eve and was cursed by God
  • John 8:44 He does not stand in truth; there is no truth in him; lying is his nature, he’s a liar and the father of lies
  • Ephesians 6:11 He schemes against God’s children
  • Revelation 12:9 He deceives the whole world
  • Revelation 20:7 When released from his 1,000 year imprisonment in the abyss he comes out to deceive the nations

God is…for us

  • Romans 8:31 If God is for us, who can be against us?
  • Psalm 118:6 The Lord is for me and I should not fear
  • Psalm 46:3 The Lord of Hosts is with us
  • Exodus 14:25; Joshua 10:42 God fought for His people Israel
  • Nehemiah 4:20 He fought for Nehemiah and the Israelites when ridiculed while rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem

Satan is…against us as an adversary and accuser

  • 1 Peter 5:8 Our adversary seeks to devour us like a lion seeks his prey
  • Matthew 12:30 He who is not with Christ is against Him
  • Zechariah 3:1-2 He stood to accuse Joshua the high priest and God rebuked him
  • Revelation 12:10 He accuses the brethren night and day, but will be thrown down

 

To be continued…

A Perfect Fall Weekend

Not only was there perfect Fall weather this weekend, but there were also perfect Fall activities at the Francis household. Instead of creating three separate posts I decided to combine them all into one.

First, we began the pumpkin painting process…FYI the hardest part was actually deciding how to paint them.

                                   IMG_2743   IMG_2745

Our finished product…The Francis Pumpkin Family: Daddy, Mommy, and Baby Z

IMG_2754

Then I took the initiative to make my first Fall wreath…I have to say I was quite proud of myself since I am by no means crafty on my own.

IMG_2749

(All courtesy to Pinterest. DIY Burlap Wreath and How to make a perfect bow)

The next day we spent time at Oakes Farm with some of our good friends…

                    IMG_1900   IMG_1899

        IMG_1952

We slid down slides…

                                  IMG_1904       IMG_1948   IMG_1496

(I think Matthew had just as much fun as Z.)

Swung on swings made to be horses, tractors, deer, and bulls…

                   IMG_1919      IMG_1921

Rode on pedal cars and tricycles…

                    IMG_1913      IMG_2752

Saw farm critters…

                     IMG_1936     IMG_1938

        IMG_1929      IMG_1933   IMG_1932

(I had flash backs to the childhood story Three Billy Goats Gruff with this one.)

Wove our way through a corn maze…

                       IMG_1508     IMG_1517

                        IMG_1959      IMG_1957

IMG_1958

And last but not least took a hayride to the pumpkin patch…

                                       IMG_1971     IMG_1975

IMG_1967

And if that wasn’t enough Fall for one weekend, we decided to top it off with another craft…

                     IMG_1982     IMG_1987

          IMG_1994     IMG_1995

                             IMG_1998      IMG_1999

Whew…I think I’ll call it a well spent weekend…maybe we’ll do it all again next year and make it a family tradition. 🙂

Getcha Shake On…

Do you ever feel like there are some songs that just make your body involuntarily start dancing? The music and rhythm just compel you to get up and move? I know I don’t dance near as much now as I did in high school, but I should. It’s good for the soul. It boosts your mood and can make you feel like a kid again. Well, recently there’s been a song that every time I hear it I just want to get up and dance. And I usually do. And Matthew usually looks at me like I’m crazy. But oh well. He’s the one who chose to marry me so he’s stuck. Confession: sometimes I turn it on just so I can have an excuse get up and dance. Zechariah usually joins in on the fun too. He doesn’t think I’m crazy…at least not right now…I don’t think… Anyway, not only does the music make you want to dance, but the lyrics themselves should make you want to get up as well. Yes, it’s a song from the Christian music industry, but don’t let that scare you away. Give it a try. If it doesn’t do anything for you, I promise to give you a full refund. 🙂

Check it out: SHAKE by MercyMe