Tag Archive | mind

Screen Life

Late in the Summer, our church always has a huge service/picnic at a local park.

It’s a great opportunity to not only be outside, but to gather together and hang out with other church goers in a way that isn’t always done.

In a word, it’s refreshing.

Here is what I noticed;

Note that the pastors are standing in front of a large screen.

It’s there of course so that folks can see even if they are far away.

Here’s the thing;

Even though I was up close and personal, I still found myself looking at the screen instead of the pastors.

I must admit that I find myself looking at the screen even when we are gathered inside.

While inside in Israel, I found the same thing.

Note that the lovely Jane is also on a screen.

(In my defense I was in the back of the room, and the screen came in very handy)

I’ve since been looking around everywhere I go, and I see the same thing.

I know that you do too.

Screens are predominant.

They are every where, being held by every one.

Look what we are doing here even now, looking at a screen.

It can be said that we are creating relationship, and in a way we are; but there is a large drawback;

I’m speaking for myself when I say this;

It is far easier for me to talk to others, from the other side of a screen.

It’s easier for me to watch a movie or a video than to read a book.

My concentration level has been greatly decreased since the advent of screens everywhere in my life.

So what can we do?

Personally, I have had to say yes to more “Social” things than I have in the past.

Places where I have to leave my phone in my pocket, with the volume turned off.

Places where I am expected to actually speak instead of type.

Photo from Google

Our kids have more screen time than is healthy for them, many are provided with laptops instead of regular books.

Now I don’t mind telling you that sometimes I have the attention span of a gnat!

I do however have training that came from a time BEFORE screen time and 280 character rants.

For this, I am grateful; at least I know it is POSSIBLE to read and write.

This is the only world my grandchildren have ever known.

Looking a screens, speaking in memes and emojis.

Are we spoiling our children’s ability to read, and comprehend?

I have noted, and actually heard it said, that when trying to memorize Bible verses, one can do it much better in an actual Bible than on some kind of device.

Is it like turning off the device turns off your brain as well?

So reading and memorizing is tactile as well as mental?

I gave a postcard to one of my grand daughters after our trip to Israel.

She commented that she could barely read cursive; but just enough to know what I had written on the card.

Do you have any ideas that you would care to share about how you handle screen time in your life and realm?

Please do share with us in the comments any ideas you may have on this topic.

Perhaps we can make a difference here.

Until next time….

Directionally challenged

My Grandpa had this hat.

He was such a card!

“He watched where everyone else was going, and went the other way.”

Mike Rowe

“Half the miles on my truck are from turning around and going the other way.”

Frank Iliff

It’s all fun and games until we’re talking about eternity.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:1


And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Hebrews 9:27-28 (ESV)

We get a choice. We get to choose which way we go.

Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. Proverbs 9:8-10 (ESV)

I have chosen the scenic route for most of my life.

Yesterday I heard someone say “Give us the hard way and the easy way, and we’ll take the hard way every time.”

He was joking, but he certainly was making a good point.

And why not? The scenic route is also the most informative. (and challenging and difficult) but it is through that route that we learn what does and does not work, and how to go about life in a better way.

If we are a Jesus follower, it is during these times that we find out how strong we can be through Him, and just how close He walks with us if we choose to let Him.

My encouragement to you is this; when eternity is at stake, to choose wisely.

When the end is here, that choice is all that matters.

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 (ESV)

Until next time.

Make a Moment

What state do you find yourself in these days?

I don’t mean like the state of Iowa or California, or Indiana.

I mean in your heart and your mind.

Truthfully, I find my self in a state of holy dissatisfaction.

I call it holy because I believe it is God ordained.

At times, the only way I can be convinced to move forward!

Commercials do it all the time!

They convince us how dissatisfied we are with a given product on a given day, so that we will move on out and purchase their products.

Holy dissatisfaction = displeasure, discontent, disappointment, unhappiness, frustration.  

My previous post I wrote about Cave Dwelling.

This post is more about what pushes us into and/or out of that cave.

Don’t get me wrong.

Contact is fine, that leaving the cave.

But in truth, it isn’t always energizing, and sometimes it’s simply exhausting.

People can be loud.

People can be out of order.

People and be stinky and ill mannered.

(And maybe they think I am all of those things!)

People, like myself, are just trying to get back to their caves.

When it comes down to it, the reality is that people are not noticing the people and things around them that have nothing to do with their day, unless they happen to get in their way.

We’re all just trying to return to our cave dwellings.

We live all together, yet alone.

In other words, you really can get too much of a good thing.

Too much time presiding contentedly in our caves can indeed become excessive (or obsessive) to the point of being “too much of a good thing”.

It can turn us into self centered persons, who are really unappealing.

This condition I’ve found in myself has caused in me something I will call “Holy dissatisfaction“, here is an example;

-I have a favorite shirt. I wear it all the time. It starts out pristine. It becomes comfortable. After time it begins to break down. It becomes threadbare. It no longer serves its purpose, “dissatisfaction”, has been achieved, and the shirt must be replaced. I get to choose at this point whether to replace it or not. If I don’t, it will further disintegrate, causing sadness and possible regret for me not being able to make the change. If I venture out for a new shirt, I may find that there are others out there that I can enjoy just as much.-

Seeking out others can be loud, and messy, and exhausting; but isn’t that what we’re here to do? Reach out to others?

  • What if I see out and about in town today, and I manage to “get in your way”?
  • What if I greet you pleasantly instead of growling?
  • What if I can help you reach that item high on the shelf?
  • What if I let you in on that line of traffic, or buy your coffee in the drive thru?
  • What if I could give you just one good thing to smile about today?

It really wouldn’t cost me much of anything extra.

That would create a wonderful moment for each of us.

But I had to leave my “Cave” in order to make that happen.

So let me encourage you – Make a moment. Make two.

Heck, let’s make it a habit!

Making moments until next time.

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. Matthew 18:20 (ESV)

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21 (ESV)

Overcoming Fear

How good is it to know that there are others out there trying to process the same kinds of things that you are?.

I was chatting with a friend the other day. She asked a question that I have considered many times over.

What was the question you ask?

“How in the world do people who do not know Christ personally, manage in their lives when everything comes unglued?”

The truth is; they don’t.

They get addicted to things like drugs, alcohol or work; and engage in all sorts of behaviors that dull, numb, or otherwise cover up their fear, and pain, and sorrow,

Our conversation put me in mind of a blog post that I made on October 3, 2011; about fear and how we face it without coming unglued.

I share it with you here.

Rocking Chairs and Tornadoes

Oct3

With all the news as of late about natural disasters, it is really difficult to

“Be not afraid.” or “Fear not.”

Some events in our lives may make us feel like we are in those disasters, even though physically, we may not be.

You know what I mean don’t you?

Are there things going on in your life that have the potential to strike sorrow and fear into you?

If we compared these disasters, what would we find they have in common?

I never gave this question much thought until I heard Nate Berkus recount his experience  of being swept away in a tsunami.                       

In the water with him were telephone poles, barbed wire, parts of trees and people’s homes …. and people.                                                   

All these things were swirling around him and beating his body, all the while he was fighting for his very life.

Is that how you feel right now?

Is the debris of your life beating you while you are struggling to keep your head above it all?

Are sorrow and fear and loss threatening to engulf you?

Do your circumstances feel like they are beating the life out of you?

   Consider this picture.

Your life is a tornado.

Debris is flying everywhere and the mayhem of it all is causing you mass confusion.

You are swirling around with this mess and there is no exit.

This is not too much of a stretch, if you are like many of the people you know.

The fact is, you may recognize some of those folks in the havoc, right along with you!

              Now push the pause button, and consider a different picture.

The tornado is still there.

The debris is still flying and the mayhem is still circling you.

HOWEVER

The difference is that YOU aren’t anywhere to be found in the mass confusion.

YOU are firmly planted in the middle of the eye of that storm.

YOU are seated in a rocking chair.

                                                 What does that mean?????

Firmly seated in a rocking chair, in the eye of the storm?

The peace of your Father God is planted deeply in your heart.

YOUR heart is full of the knowledge that He is aware and in total control.

To be sure, there still may be sorrow and loss, but YOU do not have to live with fear.

How do I know this?

First off, I’ve had my fair share of living in fear. 

Secondly, the Word of God plainly states that if you know Him, if you receive what His Son Jesus did for you on the cross, then you need not be afraid.

I believe the word of God to be true. 

Every word.

So when He says not to be afraid (found over 80 times) in the Bible,

I choose to obey.

Notice I said “choose”.  Being afraid is not a sin.  

What you do with it could be.

You get to make that choice.

The only thing you are to fear is God.

That is a different fear.

Not spooky, creepy fear, but a fear that is defined as being in awe of Him.

Here’s the ask.  For today. 

Use the following verses in your circumstances.  Today.

We can truly only do it for today.

Choose to let God be in control of your chaos.  Today.

Choose to sit in that rocking chair and relax while He takes on everything that would set your heart to fear.  Today.

This is not an easy task.  The world we live in caters to fear.  Its goal is to make us afraid.

Just look at the nightly news.  (No wait, maybe you shouldn’t)

At any rate, giving your fear to God will get easier with practice.

Note: Remember ~ Doctors practice.  Lawyers practice. Athletes practice.

Why do they do so?  To get better at what they do.

I encourage you to practice not being afraid.

Choose to sit and rest on your rocker, while God handles things.

Hebrews 13:6 (ESV) So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

John 14:27 (ESV) Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Matthew 10:31(ESV) Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Isaiah 41:10  (NIV) So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 (AMP)  Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.

This entry was posted on October 3, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged choicefearheartJesusmindNatural disasterrestthought lifeTornadoestruth. Bookmark the permalink.

Windows on the World

Sunday Stills; My Way ← In this post I tell how “My photos are not primarily OF windows. They are mostly FROM windows. My home office window, car windows, hotel windows, plane windows.

The windows I want to talk about today, are the windows of our hearts; the windows of our minds; and the windows of our perceptions.

It all started when I happened across a TED Talk – called “The Price of Shame” – by Monica Lewinsky – from March 20, 2015.

She spoke about humiliation, shame, cyber bullying, public shaming, and online harassment.

She quoted Brene’ Brown saying that “Shame cannot survive empathy.”

We have freedom of expression, but also responsibility of that freedom.

Might our harsh words cause the demise of another?

Let’s face it, myself, and many others I am quite sure, heard Monica’s story while it was going on, and thought what a horrible person she must be, as well as the one she was involved with.

Did we consider her with compassion? Did we think of her as young and naive? Did we consider that she may have been being taken advantage of by another? Did we think of her as Someone’s Daughter?

Maybe for a moment, but the mainstream media of the day made it very easy to characterize her as a floozy; or many other names that she goes over in her talk.

Her stand in her talk was that we need to communicate, consume, and click with compassion.

We must take back our own narrative, and help others currently in that position.

As a child, I was bullied a lot. Every day.

I somehow knew (not in my head and not until much later) on a visceral level, that I was being protected.

I simply cannot imagine how much more infinitely difficult it is during THIS time period.

What with social media and TV media and print media all screaming insults and vitriol all over the place for no reason, and hardly any basis in fact.

So I ask you now to consider your own “Windows on the World”. (Heart, mind, perceptions)

  • Are you communicating your thoughts with compassion?
  • Are you consuming your media with compassion?
  • Are you clicking with compassion? (Clicking usually = dollars)
  • Are you listening to EACH side, or only the one you like?

Along with the link to Monica’s story above, I’ve added a few more links.

Perhaps they can help you to begin your search for your OWN WAY to do things with more compassion.

American SPCC – American Society for the Positive Care of Children

From Bystander to Upstander (Stand up Agaisnt Bullies)

Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Scroll for Help for Specific people Groups

V22Kill – Veteran – First Responder – PTS – Suicide

We do not need to agree on everything; in fact, we can disagree completely with another’s world view, and still listen to them, and treat them with compassion.

If we use compassion, we can have some really good conversation, and who knows: maybe everybody can learn something.

Matthew 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

The Ability to Forgive

Photo found on Pinterest. https://bit.ly/2TbZoZt May be subject to copyright

Join me today for a guest post from someone I’ve known for a long time.

With his permission I copied his article word for word from his Facebook page.

I’ve added my own comments to the end.

Enjoy.

People come into our lives for a reason; a season; or a lifetime.

He’s that kind of friend.

PSALMS OF LIFE·MONDAY, AUGUST 5, 2019·

In this article I’m going to share with you 5 of the most important things that I’ve personally discovered about the ability to forgive THAT WORKS!
(CLICK ON THE LINK ABOVE TO OPEN THE ARTICLE)

1. We do NOT have the natural ability to forgive anyone…no matter how hard we try! In fact, the more we try, the more weary we become. That does NOT mean we are helpless victims of other people’s foolishness. Because what we do have is the God-given ability to choose…to choose to forgive. That opens the door for the Holy Spirit to do in and through you the same thing that He did through Jesus on the Cross when He said, “Father, forgive them…” Jesus did not do that in His own strength. He made the choice, in the same way that you and I make the choice. That brings us to point number 2:

2. The Holy Spirit has the power that it takes to cause forgiveness to take place. More than anyone, He knows the value and power of forgiveness. He also knows our weaknesses, and is more than willing to fill our weakness with God’s strength. But, equally, the Holy Spirit will not (and cannot) make the choice for us. That’s our part. Making the choice when everything within our pain is shouting, “For what they did, they don’t deserve to be forgiven!” And, that leads us to our third point:

3. The other person (or people) don’t deserve it! The Lord’s prayer is, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” The person (or people) owe you a debt. Jesus prayed from the Cross, “Father forgive them…(why?)…because they don’t know what they are doing. If the devil knew what he was doing when Jesus was crucified, he would not have done it! Easily ninety-five percent of the time (or more) the person (or people) that inflicted pain upon you, did not really know what they were doing. We like to think they knew because it justifies our anger and bitterness. But, in truth, they are blind to themselves and their own actions. That doesn’t justify horrible behavior, but it sheds light on a human reality.

4. Forgiving isn’t the same as forgetting. We’ve probably all heard the saying, “To forgive is to forget.” If we can’t forget, it leads us to the conclusion that we must not have truly forgiven.” Forgiving is releasing a person from a debt they truly owe you. You make the choice to allow the Holy Spirit to move in forgiveness in and through you. It begins as an act of faith that you may or may not feel for awhile, but if you continue to make the choice and allow the Holy Spirit to do the work only He can do, the feelings begin to catch up.

Why do you supposed Jesus told His disciples to forgive 70 time 7 (490 times in one day)? It’s because of what the power that not forgiving does to destroy us emotionally and physically. Choosing to forgive and releasing the Holy Spirit then to do His work in and through us is one of the main ways to enter the river of God’s love. This may sound very strange, but the choice to forgive is one of the most positive selfish things you can do for yourself.

5. Finally, forgiving DOESN’T mean that you automatically allow the person or people to return into your life as if nothing has happened. You can forgive and still be wise. There needs to be a time of proof where you see a change in their attitudes and actions before you fully embrace them. That is another area where the Holy Spirit will help you with wisdom if you will ask Him for the wisdom.

I truly hope this helps! Learning to walk in the love as well as the wisdom of forgiveness is one of the most critical things we need to learn!

If this was beneficial, please respond with a “Like”! If you have any questions, please ask in the comments. If you have some wisdom that you’ve worked out in your own life, please comment. And “Share” this with someone you believe it may help!

Prayer: Father, In Jesus Name, I now make the choice to allow the Holy Spirit to work forgiveness because of what _____________ did/said to me. Thank you Jesus. Amen.

Pastor Gary Ellis

1. Choices. I never realized I even had a choice until I was in my mid twenties. That was a life giving revelation. It meant I no longer had to eat it just because it was put on my plate by someone. I get to fill my own plate.

2. My not forgiving them was poisoning me, while they were walking around “free”.

3. Wrong doers do wrong. That’s what they do. We can expect no different from them. Many times they have literally no idea just how wrong they are. They have no chip for that.

4. Unforgivness harbors bitterness, and causes sorrow and grief. Psalm 31:10 says “For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away.” Note that it takes away our strength. 5. It is not wise to forgive, and then to return immediately, this is so true. Give yourself time, and time, and time. After that, you can make a wise choice due to the actions you see. During that time, you are not holding on to poison, but allowing yourself to regain your strength.

Thanks for being here, and please join me again next time!

After the Lull

Fast forward to the present time, 2019, and the years in between, working on putting all I had learned to some practical use.

There has (seemingly) been a lull.

I say seemingly because I believe that even, and maybe especially, in the quiet times, the lull times, God is often doing a work in us so deep, and so profound, that we may not even have words to express what is happening on our insides. We may not even know!

Then one day, the times of quiet disappear, and everything erupts! There is drama everywhere, and there is nowhere to hide.

It is during times of duress, that we begin to realize what all that quiet was about.

All the while it was growing us, and fortifying us, “For such a time as this.”

I believe we grow infinitely closer to God because we depend on Him more.

Enter this book .


I’ve had this book on my laptop for several years. (Ever do that?)

I don’t ever remember reading it.

Until now.

Funny how things can hang out for the longest while, only to reappear at just the right time.

How long have I been asleep? How long has God been working in the silence of my heart? What have I learned from that time?

Dekker maintains that we follow Christ, and then we are all prone to forget the truth that sets us free all too often, each day, each hour, each moment.

To me this is the same thing as going back to our default position.

The one place in our heart and our head that protects us from the pain and chaos of the world, but does absolutely nothing to help us to grow and flourish.

In the world Dekker grew up in, “It was simple: If you say, and or do, and or believe the right things, you’re golden. If you don’t, you’re screwed. It all depends on you. Just like with God, or so I was led to believe.”

My story is certainly the same. Perhaps yours is as well.

Straighten up. Fly right. Toe the line. Conform. Or pay the price.

The price was often abuse by peers and those in charge, chaotic thinking, and loneliness. Add to that a startling array of disorders, diagnoses, and addictions, and the outcome is quite a mess!

If you don’t know who you truly are, and believe yourself to be the only one in this place, you try to fit in the best you can.

It is so much easier to hide.

What is your identity made up with?

  • Is your identity made up by hobbies or sports?
  • Is your identity made up by the church you attend?
  • Is your identity wrapped up in your wife, your husband, your children?
  • Is your identity made up by your career?
  • Is your identity held in your wealth and status?
  • Or is your identity made up of what someone told you; for good or for evil?

These things promise, and promise to make you feel better, worthy.

But they never deliver. They only continue to enslave.

You need to know that these identities are FAR LESS than the identity that you were born with!

The depression, the wounding, the scarring, the addictions, the habits and ill behaviors that you can’t seem to overcome, and maybe even your health issues, may have to do with how you see yourself.

YOUR OWN perception of you!

And you are certainly not alone in your struggle.

Those perfect people that you rub shoulders with on a daily or weekly basis? They struggle too.

They simply hide behind a different curtain, looking as “normal” as possible.

In God’s economy, normal looks a lot like loving;

  • Loving others even when they treat you poorly
  • Loving those who cannot love you back
  • Loving those who are difficult to love
  • Loving ourselves and others as Christ does.

We all fail from time to time.

But we must know that we are made in God’s image, and if we are born “in Him”, we can continually grow toward being that loving person He has created us to be.

If we immerse ourselves in His Word daily, the Word itself will begin to erase all of the negative corrosion that has been sticking to us our entire lives.

His word will cleanse us, and although we are still not perfect, it will continue cleaning us up, and softening our edges, making us more like Christ by the day.

What will that identity look entail?

  • RadiancePsalm 34:5 Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.
  • Strength2 Corinthians 12:10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
  • WisdomProverbs 2:10 For wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
  • Compassion Matthew 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
  • Fruits of the Spirit;
    • Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control.

I want to tell you one more thing.

The thing I tell you the most.

The most important thing.

Psalm 139:13-16 (ESV)

13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.

No accident.

No mistake.

Just …………………. Love.