How I Manage Myself on Social Media – Ephesians 5:15-17

I can handle it. I’m going to check my feed for five minutes because I need a break and I want to catch up on the news. And maybe see what’s going on with my friends . . .

photo by andre-mouton .unsplash

Yeah, you guessed it. I was still scrolling through photos and stories two hours later, proving I’m not in control as much as I thought.

My story isn’t new and neither are the excuses. You don’t need to hear all the details about my painful joints and the amount of time I spend lying down. I’ve learned to be productive, managing my daily tasks as I rest, and I’m delighted I can get so much done. But after work I check my feeds on Facebook and Twitter and too often there I go again, sliding into the void . . .

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 

Ephesians 5:15-17 ESV

There are so many opinions on the dangers of social media, my little brain can’t process it all. What concerns me, though, is how easily I’m drawn in – and kept there – by the distractions. Dare I use a stronger word and say seductions?

A few days ago my husband and I watched interviews of former executives and designers of the most popular social media platforms. It was alarming. At the end we asked ourselves what they were going to do to fix the problems they helped create.

But what they do is not my business. Instead, I should be concerned about how I’m managing me.

Where to start? I acknowledge that I’m a sheep. I follow other sheep because that’s what sheep do. No matter how convinced I am that I’m choosing my own path, I have to admit that my default is to take the easiest way without thinking things through or asking God for guidance.

Sheep can be startled by a loud noise and take off running away from safety instead of towards it, all because it seems like a smart move at the time. Yup, that’s me.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:6 ESV

Here’s what Jesus, who calls himself the good shepherd, said:

“. . . The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”

John 10:3-5 ESV

How can I be sure it’s his voice I’m hearing in my head? For me, the answer lies in practicing. I start by asking for his help. I read the Bible to see how people in the past communicated with God and I talk to him like they did.

Immersing my mind in his words helps me detect faulty thinking that may crop up. I love those times when I recognize something seems off and I can say wait, that’s not right. God doesn’t talk like that.

Of course I make mistakes, that’s okay. He’s patient, and he knows I am a sheep. When I say or do something silly I shine my flashlight of faith on it and confess my error. And when I’m unsure of the direction I should take? That’s when I exercise my faith and say, “Correct me if I’m wrong, Lord. I really want to do your will.”

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

Isaiah 30:21 ESV

There’s a free 30-day Bible study course in progress now from Bible Gateway. It can help you get started on recognizing God’s voice. Though it started a couple weeks ago it’s not too late to join – I did and quickly caught up. I enjoyed the overview of the Bible its given me so far, and it covers a lot of ground in a short time.

After shopping around the internet for a photo to go along with this post, I darkened the screen, set my phone down, and pushed it out of my reach. I looked up and asked God how did I do? This time I was able to resist giving social media two hours of my attention. Instead I redirected my thoughts to the One I love most, and I trust that with practice I’ll do even better.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Making the Most of Hard Times – Philippians 4:11-13

Do you get cranky when temperatures rise? I’m enjoying our spring weather so far, but you might want to back off if I’m in the sun too long.

Photo from Stocksnap – pixabay.com

When I was a baby, my parents took me to Indiana to introduce me to our relatives at Anderson Camp Meeting. As the day wore on, the summer heat got to me. Soon my fussing made those around me equally miserable. My ever resourceful mother found a bucket, drew a little water, and sat me in it. Dad snapped a photo of the transformation, his whiny child now grinning and splashing in the water. All because they’d met my most pressing need.

Sitting in the bucket, I had no concerns about food or clothing, or where I would take my afternoon nap. All I needed that moment was a bucket of water and my loving parents.

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:11-13 ESV

In these difficult times with the virus and its effects on our lives, we can be content with what we have. We can face seasons of having much, as well as those of lack, through Jesus who strengthens us.


Helping others

My longtime friend, Laurie, a missionary in Uganda, is working to feed the hungry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s what she wrote a couple days ago.

Today, Gerald is on his way to go and help another 6 families. One story that has really touched me this week: When Gerald was buying posho and beans for one family, a young woman came up to the vendor with a baby on her back and a young child in tow. She asked the vendor how much the very cheap (not milled well) rice was. They said shs3,000 (less than $1).
She said, “Oh, I thought it was only shs1,000.” (less than 30 cents). Then she walked away, not having enough to buy even the worst rice you can buy. Gerald said she looked hungry, but he had no extra money to get her anything. So, now when he goes to buy for the ones we know, I send him with extra so he can get something for those who have nothing–like this young mother.

Laurie Dickerson

I share Laurie’s story because I want to remember there are people suffering much more than I am from the effects of the virus. Having spent time in communities like hers, I’ll never forget the tremendous need.

She serves where most people go to work, receive their pay and buy their food the same day. Few have refrigeration or canned foods. If they don’t work, their family doesn’t eat that day. Many have lost their jobs and are going hungry. (If you’d like to help, contact me and I’ll get you connected.)


An app to try

No matter what state I’m in, I’m more aware of God’s presence when I read the Bible every day. Because of the convenience of having the scriptures via Biblegateway.com accessible on my cell phone, I’m happy to be a #BibleGatewayPartner and share this resource with you. I am not paid to share my opinion–my desire is to promote Bible reading.

I recently downloaded Bible Gateway’s free Bible Audio App and it’s great! When my hands are busy, like when driving or stretching, I can listen to Scripture. The only downside is that currently the English Standard Version, the version I prefer, isn’t an option. Hopefully, that will change.

This app is also a great tool to help with memorization. The verse text appears on your screen as you listen, and changes when the spoken verse changes. And you can swipe to navigate between verses or set it to repeat the verse or passage being read. I like that.

Remember, the Bible Gateway Bible Audio App is free.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

When More than a Football Game Brings us Together – Isaiah 60:4

I pulled the Blockhead box off the shelf when the kids were getting antsy. I understood their restlessness. Football doesn’t hold my interest very long either, although I do cherish the times when four generations of my family come together for Duck games.

Spreading the pieces on the floor where we wouldn’t interfere with the football game, I explained a few Blockhead rules. Use one hand to place your block, and don’t let go of it until you’re sure it’s where you want it. Try to play so that blocks will topple during the next player’s turn. That way she’ll be the blockhead and not you!

I don’t have anything against watching football, but participating in a game instead of being a spectator, even at risk of being the blockhead, is WAY MORE FUN. It’s also a great way to connect with the kids.

While the girls got more comfortable with each other, I realized I’ve been seeing a lot of healing in relationships lately. It seems every time I turn my head someone I’ve been concerned about is doing better.

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!

Psalm 133:1 ESV

I know this coming together season might not always be so encouraging. These are human relationships, after all. But for now I’m enjoying a glimpse into the kingdom of God where nothing separates us.

That’s pretty sweet.

Lift up your eyes all around, and see. They all gather together, they all come to you. Your sons shall all come from afar, your daughters shall be carried on the hip. Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and exult . . .

Isaiah 60:4-5a ESV

You might call it the Ultimate Family Reunion in the Sky, that day when we see God’s people come together forever. Since Jesus paid our entrance fee we’re all invited to his place, not just to watch a game, but to see all that’s broken united and whole again.

Are you in?

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

The fantasy portrait in this blog post depicts me (in my red camping jacket) and my family heading toward the kingdom of light. If you’re interested in seeing more art like this check out my son’s work at AJoshofAllTrades.com.