Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Is TV Helping or Hurting Our Lives?

When I was a child, there was not much TV to watch.  Only a few cartoons and kids shows like Howdy Doody and Mickey Mouse Club.  I would have rather played outside with my friends or played with toys and games.  Even my parents only watched things like the news or a variety show like Ed Sullivan.  My parents didn't have to worry about TV dulling my brain or my creativity.  The movies I went to see where wholesome and uplifting.

Today is very different.  There are a lot of enticing programs and movies to get us and our children's attention.  There is so much offensive material such as bad language and immorality being displayed as normal behavior.  Sitcoms are the worst.  Our kids don't have a chance.  Our senses become immune to what is right and wrong.   "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil." - Is. 5:20.

Promiscuity is all over TV and movies.  Every show has some kind of sexual content or language.  Homosexuality is portrayed as a normal life style.  That is not what God intended.  "Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for degrading of their bodies with one another.  They exchanged the truth of God for a lie." - Rom. 1:4-25.  "God gave them over to shameful lusts.  Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.  In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.  Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion." - Rom. 1:26-27.

Our children are led to believe that being a virgin is a bad thing and sex before marriage is the norm.  Adults are also led to that belief.  Every show that has a man and a woman going on a "date" shows the next scene of them jumping in bed together as if that were the normal progression instead of waiting for marriage.  The one night stands seem to be popular these days - or living together before marriage.  I don't think that is what God had in mind. 
Even TV commercials are suggestive and pollute our minds.  Not only are TV and movies to blame, but so are video games, magazines, billboards, and song lyrics.  Watching such sexually polluting images will stay in our minds.  It will always be there.  Sexual pollution is powerful.  The enemy will keep those images flashing back which gives him a stronghold in our lives if we let him. 

Be selective as to what you and your children watch.  Do whatever is necessary to avoid anything that is a temptation.  We can ask God to keep us strong and to not give into the desires these images can produce.  Ask God to help you and your children not be drawn into sexual pollution, but to turn away.  You can change the channel, walk out of the theater, throw those magazines away, turn off the radio, turn off the Internet site, and don't buy that CD or video game.  Find a good book to read.  Better yet, how about opening your Bible and read God's Word.

"A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished." - Prov. 27:12.

"For everything in the world - the craving of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does - comes not from the Father but from the world." - 1 John 2:16.

Watching TV steals time from our children for activities that actually develop their brains.  They need to interact with other people and playing.  It takes time away that they need to develop important skills like language and social skills.  It takes time away from reading and improving reading skills.  Experts say kids who watch entertainment TV are less likely to read books.  It causes them to have trouble paying attention and have shorter attention spans.  Experts also say the kids who watch 3 hours of TV, videos, or DVDs a day had a higher chance of conduct problems and relationship problems by age 7 than those who did not.  It can cause them to become insensitive to violence and cause aggressive and violent behavior.

TV exposes kids to negative influences and promotes negative behavior.  It shows violence, alcohol, drug use and sex in a positive light.  It teaches them that violence is a way to solve conflict.  When kids watch too much TV, they tend to snack on junk food and are influenced by commercial to eat unhealthy food.  Watching TV affects our kids health and athletic ability.  They can become obese and less fit since they aren't running, jumping and doing activities that burn calories and increase metabolism.

TV is not all bad.  There are good educational programs that educate, inform and inspire.  Studies show that kids who watch educational and non-violent shows do better on reading and math tests than those who do not watch these programs. 

So instead of letting your child watch TV, get him in a reading habit by reading to him.  You can invite a friend over for a play date.  Do a puzzle with your child. If you need some more suggestion for activities to do instead of watching TV?  Check out this website for 100 Things to Do Instead of Watching TV - http://slapdashmom.com/100-things-to-do-instead-of-watching-tv/

Set an example for your children.  Turn off the TV and get a hobby, do landscaping, workout, or play a sport.  Here is a website with some more suggestions: http://voices.yahoo.com/addiction-television-25-things-instead-of-282377.html?cat=9

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Matthew 28 - The Truth of the Resurrection

(My BSF Notes)

We know from our previous study in Matt. 27 that Jesus was dead and Joseph buried His body.  Now in chapter 28 we learn that the grave was empty and the Lord Jesus is Alive!

On the first day of the week following His crucifixion the two Marys, Magdalene and Mary of Bethany went to the tomb of Jesus.  They went there to finish the preparation of Jesus' body.  They would have been very sad and mourning His death.  There had been a violent earthquake and an angel of the Lord came down, rolled back the stone, and sat on it.  Jesus had already risen before the angel came.  The angel came only to open the tomb so they could see that He was not there.

When the women arrived at the tomb, they saw that the angel and stone was rolled away.  "His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow." - Matt. 28:3.  At Jesus' birth "an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around, and they were terrified." - Luke 2:9.  Light is a sign of holiness and power that come from being in the presence of God.   These thing may have showed comfort to the women, because it showed that something from God was happening.  The guards on the other hand were afraid and shook and became like dead men (Matt. 28:4).

The angel told the women "He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.  Come and see the place where he lay.  Then go quickly and tell his disciples; 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee.  There you will see him.'" - Matt. 28:5-7.  Jesus is still risen and has ascended into heaven and continues to reign as fully man and fully God.  They should have expected this.  This is what He promised.  We see God did not forsake Jesus, death is conquered, and we have a living friend and High Priest in Jesus.  God remembered Him and gave Him the authority to raise Himself from the dead.  Jesus is the only person in history that physically rose from the dead.  The resurrection is the foundation and the center of our Christian faith.

The women were the first witnesses of His resurrection.  They were to go tell the good news quickly.  God wants His people to be witnesses in actions and in words.  He wanted to comfort His disciples and to know of His resurrection.  The resurrection has to be accepted personally.  The women hurried and obeyed the angel.  They were afraid yet filled with joy.  Then Jesus appeared to them as they were on their way.  "They came to him, clasped his feet and worshipped Him." - Matt. 28:9.

How have you worshipped Jesus with that kind of passion?
Can you relate to their joy?
Do you see an urgency in telling others?

Jesus repeated what the angel had told them.  They should not be afraid, but to go tell the disciples to meet Him in Galilee.  Jesus wanted to meet them personally.  He wanted a one-to-one so He could strengthen them.

As you submit to serving Him you may start with fear, but become joyful just as the women did.  They started being fearful and ended with worship and joy.

The guards saw the angel and the miracle, but did not believe.  Seeing isn't always believing.  Faith comes from God alone.  Jesus' resurrection is good news to some, but bad news to others.  They reported to the chief priests and elders what had happened.  When they heard this, they again were deceitful and devised a plan, a plan to cover it up.  They bribed the soldiers to say that the disciples stole the body.  They did as they were instructed.  "And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day." - Matt. 28:15.

The priests knew the truth of the resurrection, yet they rejected that truth.  Their cover-up showed their foolish pride and the darkness of their souls.  This lie spreads even today with people ignoring the facts.  Jesus rose from the dead.  You can choose to believe it or you can believe the lie.  By believing the resurrection there is hope.  By believing the lie leads to the end - death and eternal suffering.
Jesus' resurrection conquered death showing the power of God.
The resurrection of Jesus gives us hope for eternity.

Matthew 28:16-20 - The Great Commission

When the disciples met Jesus in Galilee, they worshipped Him.  Some doubted.  He charged them to go and make disciples of all the nations.  "All authority in heaven and on earth has been give to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching then to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." - Matt. 28:18-20.  No matter what happens Jesus is in full control and they needed to trust Him and obey.  This is our great commission, too.  We are to share the gospel.  We are to share it with all people no matter what the cultural, racial, social, gender, or political barriers.  They are to be baptized with spiritual and physical baptism.  Our action is proof of our faith.  He promises to always to be with us.  "What, then, shall we say in response to this?  If God is for us, who can be against us?" - Rom. 8:31.

We can start with our friends and neighbors.  A good place to start is with the people we work with and see each day.  God may even call you to be a missionary to another country or He may call you to give financially so others can go.  We must decide what is the best way to tell others the Good News.  Jesus doesn't promise constant success, but He does encourage us to expect results.  But remember the results will be in His timing, not ours.  Jesus has the authority in heaven, on earth, over all people, over us, and over our temptations.  Now use that power and go tell others.  It may be hard, but we must go even if fearful.  He promises to always be with us.

We celebrate Jesus resurrection on Easter.  It's all about the empty tomb.  Early on Friday (This is called Good Friday.) He was put to death and on Sunday He came back to life again.  The resurrection is a huge thing and ripples over the entire world.  Without the resurrection Christianity would fall apart. 

Resurrection is a huge thing to believe.  Maybe you are not really sure about it.  Continue to read and study the Bible and God will reveal Himself and the truth to you.  Ask God to show you the truth and strengthen your faith.  We all fear death and we all will die someday.  The morality rate is 100%.  We don't have to fear death, because of what Jesus did.  We try to eat right, exercise, wear seat belts and helmets.  But all this will not help, we will still die and we still need to be prepared for death.  Jesus is the only one with a plan for death.  We need to listen to what He has to say.  "If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." - Rom. 10:9

The resurrection is the most excited event in your life.  As Christians our faith is based on Scriptures and is our foundation.  All the events in the Bible move toward God's relationship with humanity that had been broken.  Unlike any other religions of the world, it is based on sacrificial atonement.  All other religions founders lived, died, and were buried.  They did not rise to life again and are buried to this day.  Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon faith was killed in 1844 and is buried in Illinois, Charles Russell, founder of Jehovah Witness had a heart attack in 1916 and is buried in Pittsburg; Mohammed, founder of Islam died in 632 and is buried in Saudi Arabia; Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology had a stroke in 1986 and was cremated and his ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean in California; Buddha died at age 83 and was cremated and buried in Nepal.  Only Jesus rose from the dead.

May unbelievers have tried to disprove the resurrection.  It is the most examined event in history.  People have written books trying to disprove it, but now believe.  It cannot be disproved!  We must believe the evidence!  After His resurrection, He appeared to the two Marys.  He appeared to the disciples several times.  He ate food and some even touched Him.  He appeared to Peter.  He appeared to 500 people at one time, believers and unbelievers.  He appeared to His half brother, James who did not believe Jesus was the Son of God until after the resurrection.  He appeared to Paul who hated and persecuted Christians (1 Cor. 15).

Do you believe the resurrection of Jesus?
How do you show your belief in Him?

Jesus is Alive!  We must believe the evidence!

Jesus Christ's commission is for every believer.
The resurrection of Jesus give us power to live for Him.

The book of Matthew started with a baby.  He was called "Immanuel", meaning "God with us".  Matthew ends with Jesus' promise that He will always be with us.

What are you doing to bring the message of Jesus' resurrection to others?
Will you teach others what you have learned from this study?

He will equip you.  Don't wait till you know all the answers.  You never will.  You will be dead before that happens.

This is a happy and joyous end to the study of Matthew.  We have hope in the life to come.  Since this study is over, I will be posting other spiritual insights throughout the summer.  I hope you will continue following my blog.  You can join as a follower or you can sign up to receive an email when there is a new post.  Then next fall BSF will begin with the study of The Life of Moses.  I will post on that starting in September.  May God continue to bless and keep you until He comes again.  Have a great summer and keep the faith, stay strong, and stand firm.