Monday, February 28, 2011

Fact Checker

I love the internet. I love its availability, its flow, its flux and its eye appeal. "Eye candy" is what my Dad calls it. I am a visual person and the internet fits me. Why lug out the phone book when I can look it up online? Why write a check and mail in my bill payments when I can point and click and never leave my kitchen counter? Why slog your way into town when I can buy the perfect Christmas gift and in a few moments have it wrapped and sent directly to you? At least I know then that it might actually get to you before the day of celebration, instead of sitting in my bedroom waiting until I actually don real pants and head to town! I love the internet.

I love the information you can gather in a fairly short period of time on the internet too. Being careful is key in this venue, however, as so much is manipulatable on the internet there is a bunch of false information out there. Basically, if you have a modicum of computer skill and the time, you can put just about anything you want on the internet. For truth seekers and research students, that can be quite a pitfall... Just ask my kids about Wikipedia and they will let you know it is not recommended reading for any school required report.

To combat bad emails and erroneous information floating about the World Wide Web, fact checking sites like Snopes and have sprung up to try to combat gullible souls from crowding their minds and our in-boxes with junk.

This post was going to be about bumblebees and how they are aerodynamically not capable of flight and yet how all things are possible with God... After some quick checking on the internet I discovered that this is a well disputed fable started in Germany, blah, blah, blah... And there went my blog post - Or so I thought.

God had another idea. And so here we are in fact checking land...

While all things are possible with God, He does want His children to be fact checkers. He wants us to be smart about what we repeat, what we put into our minds as the truth and about who we listen to. God has another site He'd like us to use in our fact checking arsenal: the Bible.

"Hold on!" I hear you cry... "That's a BIG book and I don't know how to find stuff in it!" Lest you throw in the towel, I have some great news for you technophiles out there! There are quite a few FREE on line Bibles out there and they are very well represented. There are sites that have multiple versions of the Bible that allow you to look at many different ways God speaks to us in different vernacular. And for those who aren't readily versed in how to look up items in a biblical concordance, there are handy little search bars! Yup, just like Google, you put what you are looking for into that search bar and viola! Up it comes in a variety of ways, depending on the online service you are using... Being a well read Christian has just gotten a lot easier as well as very 21st century!

So now how do you and I use this new found media format to conquer our inner Bag Ladies and their tendency to veer off course? Well, let's look at some very simple facts about how the enemy attacks us.

First, he is a liar. The Enemy will lie to you outright about what is expected of you, what is acceptable, who you really are and what is possible. When you are tempted to doubt something you thought was the truth, look it up! Has he whispered in your ear that you aren't really God's child, check it out... Galatians 3:26 says "So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith."

Second, he is a master manipulator. Satan loves to manipulate truth so that you are utterly confused. He is very good at it and can often leave you so confused that you don't know up from down. When the enemy whispers to you that all paths lead to God and who are you to judge another person, check it out... "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him." John 14:6-7

Thirdly, Satan loves to guilt and shame you into making decisions that you normally wouldn't make. Shame is a notorious culprit in many a heart torn apart, believing the lie that we are unlovable. When he laughs in your ear and tells you that you are not worthy of God's love, laugh back at him and tell him to look it up! "Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."" John 8:10-11

It is sad, frustrating and unfortunately true that Satan only has so many tricks he can use to sway us, but the saddest thing of all is that they are all he needs. He doesn't develop more intricate and difficult ways to coax us away from the Father because, frankly, he doesn't have to - we still fall for the same old, same old every time! It is about time we start using some of his same techniques on his own lies... Become a fact checker! Don't believe him just because he says so. Send him one of those slightly embarrassing emails that say, "You might want to check this out..." and point him right back to the Word of God. He has to listen and he will slink away defeated - for a while. When he does, smile to yourself and rest in knowing you have the Word at your disposal to combat him, in whatever form and vernacular that speaks to you.

"Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes," and "Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Ephesians 6:11, 17.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Just Enough...

Sitting in a college classroom, one of the only ones I have ever seen, I learned about a business technique called "just in time inventory." It is a concept wherein a business decides early on not to stock a large amount of inventory, but instead to order in the items they need on a projected basis of what is or will potentially be sold within a predetermined time frame... Just in time. It saves on warehouse space, thirty day cash flow lag and a myriad of other smaller but far reaching effects. It's not an easy way to run a business, because it takes a fair amount of planning and a commitment to be very aware of your sales projections. But it has its advantages as well as its disadvantages, and when it is done right, it is a very efficient and cost effective way to operate.

While I understand the concept as it relates to my business life, I find myself very frustrated when I think about it in relation to my spiritual life. Yet, God is the absolute Master! He has it all figured out and omnipotence is His vantage point when He manages to give me exactly what I need at exactly the right time and in just the most perfect amount. Granted, I don't always see it that way. I seem to always be wanting just a little more, just a little earlier and I am forever seeking the next thing, often before the first item is fully realized!

Humankind is so very blind to the perfection that is God and His "Just in Time, Just Enough" approach to managing His children, and that very much includes me. I wish I could say I am only affected in the area of finances, but I would be struck dead for being so arrogant and blatantly dishonest. So often I find myself wishing for more in so many areas of my life.

I want more time, yet I don't seem to do much with any extra I might carve out. I want more in my relationships, however, I am often so distracted I allow my mind to wander and miss integral parts of the conversation. I always want more money... Yeah, we know how that goes.

So how do I handle it? How do I keep my covetous and discontented heart in check and how on earth do I stop taking the Lord's blessings for granted? No, really! I am asking...


I guess it is into the Word, I go then. When I truly look at the root source of my issues with not having "enough" of something I start to recognize worry is my core issue.

Worry. I grew up spending many wonderful hours with my grandparents and I recognize that some of my worry habits were born right there. Living with depression era survivors has its wonders and its issues. One of the issues is always being afraid that some day you will run out... Run out of food, run out of money, run out of everything! Because of these influences I have a definite need for security and I stock pile... But you can't always stock pile with God.

In Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus councils us against worry and the uselessness of it. I simply love the verse, "Who of you by worrying can add but a single hour to your life?" Ahem... Yeah! This is a verse I had once had committed to memory, and today I realize that I just may need to get out the index cards once again as a refresher course. God is going to give me just what I need, just when I need it and in just the right amount.

So there is not a single call to fret when I have only enough money to pay the bills and not enough to have "extra"... If I have to get creative with the shopping list, I often find recipes that the family loves and become monthly staples. If I cannot afford a weekly trip to the theater with our family of four (often totaling over $75), I learn that we are all just as content sitting out back gathered around the fire pit, roasting marshmallows and making s'mores.

Likewise, when I throw myself on the floor and pray through rivers of tears for a dire need that I cannot see any possibility of being met, I need to remember all the times before that God provided Just Enough, Just In Time. I have yet to be left truly out in the cold to the merciless jaws of the Enemy. God has always provided a way out or met the need head on. I am constantly forgetting how wonderfully He has provided for me, regardless of my faith. Every time He does, I am floored by just how perfect His provision is. Often He delivers so much more than I could have thought to ask for, so limited and fixed is my attention on what I don't have.

So when you are just sure that God isn't listening to you anymore and you know you are going to be sunk by the issue of not having enough... Try to call to mind all those times before when God not only met the need, but provided you with so much more. If you cannot recall to memory any of those times I challenge you to keep a log. Find a small notebook or even just a single page of paper. Draw a line down the middle. On one side title it "NEED", on the other side title it "MET/SOLUTION". When you have a need, date it and write it down. When God fulfills it, write down not only the date of its fulfillment, but HOW God decided to solve your problem. Once you fill that page with God answered issues, look back at it and thank Him one more time for being Jehovah Jireh, the God Who Provides