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Mike, I don’t think TV is all bad just as I don’t think computers are all bad or books are all bad. People can become addicted to any of these or to other activities and let them become the primary focus of their lives. Addiction is bad because it upsets the balance of things. I think that God expects each of us to have a balanced life, to keep in tune to what is going on in our world, our state, our community, our family, our church and our friends and He expects us to spread the Word where the opportunity avails itself. God also wants us to derive joy from this life. Addictions are escaping mechanisms that let us hide from reality instead of facing it with God’s love and strength. We can become addicted to anything.

Our faith can also become an addiction if we let it become isolated to the point where we spend all of our time in personal worship instead of sharing the love and Word of God with others. We can’t allow ourselves to part of the world and worldly ways but neither can be withdraw completely from the world. If we withdraw from the world then there is no way to share God with others. Christians sometimes have a tendency to only socialize with other Christians and completely avoid those that we consider unsaved. I believe that as Christians we should wear our Christianity where others can see it – we need to have a bounce in our step, have a sparkle in our eyes, wear a smile on our face, have the glow from the love of God radiating from our inner core – so that when we do mingle among the unsaved they can see the difference in us and want the peace and joy that Christ provides to His children. Being pious and lecturing the unsaved or hiding from them never brought anyone to Christ because it is a negative approach that puts others down. Being happy in the Lord draws people to Christ just as the laughter of strangers naturally makes us smile even though we don’t know what they are laughing about.

There are wonderful things on TV just as there are bad commercials and programming, there are wonderful books just as there are bad books, there are marvelous ways to use computers just as there are evil ways to use them, all of life has its good and its bad. Limiting a source is not the solution but selection is! God has provided us with all these things to be a source of information and entertainment but He expects us to act responsibly.

God Bless!

I don't think you're crazy at all regarding television. I do still have a tv--one in a family of five. Shocking, I know, that we have only one. My poor kids don't have one in their rooms or anything. We tape most of the shows we are are going to watch and fast forward through the commercials if they aren't on PBS. How are people going to make money off my family if we don't watch the commercials? Also, we don't have cable. No MTV, no movie channels, nothing. We don't even rent movies from the video store--we borrow them from the library. I think we could single-handedly cause the economy to stop!

Just thought I'd rant to keep you company! I saw that study, too, and thought it was ridiculous. In my life I have already wasted to much time watching tv and I hope to redeem time instead of throwing it away. That's my goal, anyway.

TV must be assessed in the time and culture of a people to discern its effectiveness. Television is a neutral media taking on the character of those who are producing for it; programming it and watching it. Remember the guy who first put the bible on his first printing press and wrote it in a language that the people spoke, Guttenberg, was persecuted for doing that using some of the same reasoning you are. What you have stated about Television was applied to the common (vulgar) people being able to read, and specifically, read the Bible. Why that was the job of the priests--read the bible and then tell the people what the bible said. (Sarcasm)

It sounds like you have taken a personal conviction and discipline and rationalized it to try and make a doctrine. If nothing else is taken from the Old Testament, specifically 1st and 2nd Kings and Chronicles, one should come away with an understanding that moral behavior may be legislated but purpose, the motive of the heart—the motivating factor that determines why we do or do not do something, even worship and religious expressions, cannot. It is the “why” we do that determines what we do—Man looks at the outside, the appearance of things God looks at the heart, the why. I have a television which I barley watch and I don’t have cable because I refuse to pay 40 plus dollars a month for something I hardly watch. The issue is, really knowing yourself, knowing that you cannot hold a revival in a bar when you love wine.

This entire thing or principle falls under Paul’s admonishment in Romans:

One man esteems one day as better than another, while another man esteems all days alike [sacred]. Let everyone be fully convinced (satisfied) in his own mind.
(Romans 14:5 AMP)

Well I have to confess I don't have a TV either..I guess it all depends on your conviction....watching movies that do nothing at all to enhance me spiritually but feed my fleshy side...guess i'm better without em.I get to read the news online...I guess it's sort of like the alcohol issue.Even Jesus had some during meals...but if you know once you start,you gotta have the whole bottle then the best thing is to avoid it.
God bless you all

Isaiah 43:14-45:10

In the midst of our idol worship, it the midst of our idol building, God is telling us, crying out to us,

But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. (Isaiah 43:1 KJVR)

IT is like walking into a supermarket with thousands of products claiming to do for us what God has already done. God has no expiration date; but all the others do and you must look closely to either decipher or read the fine print. God is telling us that He has done it all, He has provided, He has protected us, yet we walk down the long aisles, throwing into our basket all our little and BIG idols claiming to do for us what God has already done.

No rock, no crystal, no special prayer, no person, no super saint, nor any government can do for us what God has already done. The only thing keeping us in bondage and out of the liberty that God has already given us, is our confused minds.

Isaiah 43:14-45:10

Mike you ask, “do we create idols of our own today?” I think as long as there are men and women walking the earth only when Jesus comes again will we stop creating our idols.

I’ve pondered for years why we love to create idols. My definition being anything submitted to and looked upon for deliverance and as a source of life and sustenance. We create our idols so we, by substitution, control the universe or in a smaller sphere, we control our own little universe. With an idol, we make up the rules of conduct and engagement. The problem comes in when everyone has their own little idol and they try to force others to bow down to what they have created. When that happens the strongest, manipulative, the one with the most human power, wins out.

Just when we think we have the answers given to us by a rock (crystals), mood rings, the government, along comes God and says, “Not so!”

24 The LORD, your Redeemer and Creator, says: "I am the LORD, who made all things. I alone stretched out the heavens. By myself I made the earth and everything in it. 25 I am the one who exposes the false prophets as liars by causing events to happen that are contrary to their predictions. I cause wise people to give bad advice, thus proving them to be fools. 26 But I carry out the predictions of my prophets! When they say Jerusalem will be saved and the towns of Judah will be lived in once again, it will be done! 27 When I speak to the rivers and say, `Be dry!' they will be dry. 28 When I say of Cyrus, `He is my shepherd,' he will certainly do as I say. He will command that Jerusalem be rebuilt and that the Temple be restored."

Just my thoughts.

Ephesians 3:1-21

Paul seems to be one of those “Get-up-and-go” kind of guys. He appears to want to take care of business in person whether to confront or to encourage. Paul was a hands-on kind of guy. So I am glad that Paul was constrained by the Holy Spirit by way of travel plans and yes, even prison. If Paul was not confined by these things how much of the New Testament would have been written and codified?

Some of us are going through trials, bad trials. Some of us desire to do things “For God,” yet find ourselves blocked in and seemingly shut out. But God may have other plans for us that will only be accomplished when our escape routes are blocked or destroyed.

Paul was able to write this wonderful explosive prayer in chains,

14 When I think of the wisdom and scope of God's plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. 17 And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
20 Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. 21 May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen.

Psalm 68:1-18

Ever wonder how loud it will be in heaven? I think the decibel level will be tremendous and we will have glorified ears so as not to destroy our eardrums. I get my clues from verses like this:

Sing praises to God and to his name!
Sing loud praises to him who rides the clouds.
His name is the LORD--
rejoice in his presence!

Ever forget where you are and start singing to God, loudly? I know I have and then looked sheepishly around me with embarrassment as folks look at my as if I’m crazy. Maybe I am crazy, crazy for God. I think it’s time I stop being embarrassed for singing out loud to God. I shouldn’t be any more embarrassed then those who argue or speak loudly on their cell phones so that everyone on the train can here them.

Proverbs 24:1-2

Truth be told we envy evil people because we want what they have. We want the things, the brashness, the boldness and the audacity to do what they do. Yet God provides boldness in Him and besides, God owns everything in the universe. For the Believer, God is our Dad,”… who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3 NET.)

(Proverbs 28:1 KJVR) The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.

I am with you on your tv stance, although we do have 1 plugged in tv in our family of 4 (three of my kids and me). I've always had that conviction - to get rid of the tv's and vcrs... and my vcrs have never worked for long, they kept breaking so I refused to buy anymore after a few years ago. Sitting on the couch tuned into a movie is just an escape from life. However, I'm not sure about news, especially world news and news about Isreal. I'm never sure though if the news we are getting is truth or fiction.
On the other side though, I did watch an excellent, very uplifting, teaching, motivating Christian film called "Facing the Giants" and I highly recommend it.

Psalm 68:3 REALLY stands out to me this morning, “May the righteous be glad and rejoice before the Lord: may they be happy and joyful.” Too many times we Christians have a somber judgmental attitude instead of one of joy. It is our mission to introduce the unsaved to Christ and the way to do that is to be a joyful person. God created mankind to seek out happiness. It is the human nature of mankind to shy away from stern, grumpy and pious people and to seek out the company of people that make them smile and feel good. As children of Christ, we need to be so happy and joyful all the time that the unsaved will look at us and want what we have!

God Bless!
Patsy Ray

Although I agree that TV is a big waste of time, I don't think i could take the same stand as mike has taken. On the other hand, there are probably issues in Christian living that i have strong convictions about that I doubt Mike would agree with and that's okay, to be honest.

For example, although there is a lot of great praise music, worship music, etc, I have to limit my exposure to this kind of christian 'entertainment' because it makes me feel somewhat hedonistic. It is possible to 'go crazy for God' or as someone said being intoxicated by pop evangelical religion. I love ecclesiastes 7:18 that says, It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes." Not bad wisdom for those of us given to excesses.

Ephesians 2

[Catching up - rough day yesterday]

Paul opens with we WERE dead in sin, but because of God's great love for us and his exceeding mercy - He saved us (we did not do it - God did it). Even now we already have (Greek tense is "completed action") a seat in heaven - we are already citizens of heaven - our temporary abode is here on earth.

Why did God do this? For his glory. So in the coming ages He will show the incomparable riches of His grace (no one but God could give salvation to those who don't deserve it) - through the "moral integrity" expressed to us by Christ's sacrifice. It is a decision and act of moral integrity because love, mercy, grace, justice, righteousness were all fulfilled at the cross - there was no other way to do it to satisfy God's wrath at sin and sinners.
Eph 2:8-9
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast."

There is no clearer verse on salvation being about grace and faith and not works. There can be no "works" involved, because that would take away from God's glory as man could boast that we somehow earned salvation through works. for the same reason - salvation is not maintained by works - in so doing it would diminish God's glory and give man the ability to boast that he played some part in salvation.

Eph 2:10
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

As believers we are no longer enemies of God (as the world is to God), but now and forevermore His workmanship. Created is completed action, which he ordained long ago.

Our good works now occur when we walk in the Holy Spirit, when we love God and others - they are not good works that we generate in our mind or flesh. Jesus said in Matthew 7 that the good works are done by those who "know" Him who abide in Him, they are generated by God. If you do not "know" Jesus then the works no matter how good are not of value before God - because man generated them.

As I said before - atheists, buddhists, hindus, muslims, etc. can do good things. We are made in God's image so even a non-believer has the characteristics of God in Him. However these works are just good in man's eyes - they do not stand the test before God because they are man generated. God considers good works to be those He generates through the Holy Spirit. For that you have to be a believer.
One in Christ

Used to confuse me about one body out of two. I now understand it as Paul is speaking to Gentiles and once they were considered apart from God's people.

Now through the cross, for those that believe, the Gentile and Jew are reconciled into one new body - the body of Christ. There is nor more hostility between these groups when they believe, there is peace as the two are reconciled into one by the cross - BOTH have access to the Father through the Spirit.

This is a big deal. Some Christian Jews thought they were better than the Gentile Christians. Paul is saying there is no longer any division between the two peoples - now there is one body in Christ.

While I did not go to jail for Christ I got busted by the card/letter police. I have been a member of a very good organization that sends me names and addresses of soldiers; both wounded and in active service. We recently got an e-mail from the team leader saying that we could not share our faith with them no matter what our religion was. One wounded soldier got a letter - perhaps mine - sharing the gospel with him and because he got upset now no one can say anything other than God bless you - because that is a generic god; or perhaps I am praying for you. If you don't know who you are praying to, why pray?? When I wrote back and questioned this and defended the right of the letter writers to share anything they wanted to with soldiers - I got sacked. I will not be getting any more wounded soldier's addresses. To date I have 603 individual soldiers in this war in just over one year. I am passionate about sharing the gospel with anyone especially soldiers who are so terribly wounded; and those who might die before morning. My response to the team leader was very kind; and appropriate and just because I told her that I was guilty of sharing my faith and did not know how else to encourage someone so horriblly wounded - she cut me from the list.

I have prayed for her as well. I will continue writing to soldiers as I get addresses. I have been doing this since World War 11 when ss a small child when I wrote to my Dad and to soldiers ever since. This is a wonderful organization and I would not want to do anything to harm them; but it is a shame that like prayer and Bible reading being taken out of school, some soldier somewhere may not get the love and encouragement they deserve.

Ephesians 3:1-21

The mystery revealed is how God would save not just the people of Israel through Christ, but the Gentiles as well. ("For God so loved the world..")

This paln is not just revealed to believers, but the world is to be made aware of the plan. The third group to be informed is the angels (not omniscient) - both good and fallen - so that they too will be made aware of God's plan.

The good angels are informed so that they may be in awe of God's plan and give Him glory and praise. The fallen angels are informed so that they will know the full plan of God - that is fair and just, and there can be no claims of trickery when they are cast into "hell" in Revalation.

Eph 3:12
In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

Again we have complete access to the Father - that we did not have before the cross. There is no need for Jewish High priests and down to this day for any earthly go-between. We can approach the Father on our own with freedom and confidence because of and through Jesus Christ.
A Prayer for the Ephesians

"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith."

God strenthens through the Holy Spirit so that we may abide in Christ (continually). We must rely on, trust in, and depend on God for our Christian walk.

"may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,

This not hyperbole, it is a reminder of God's complete work:
wide: encompasses Jew and Gentile - the whole world.
Long: It has been planned from before Creation to now and to the end and Christ's return.
High: We are raised to the highest place - heaven with seats already established there for us.
Deep - how far God had to bring us up from the depths of sin.

I heard Ravi Zacharais recount a good illustration of the depth. As sinners we are in a deep pit and cannot get out on our own. Other religions come by and say - You deserve it, ignore it because it is not real, follow my rules and you would never be in there, tough, etc.

Only in Christianity does God himself come down into the pit - grab your hand and pull you out. We could not get out - but through mercy and grace God pulls us out, puts us on His back and in addition takes you to the heights (heaven). Christianity is unique as the only faith that has such a personal God, one who does it all for us for His glory. Amen.

Is 43:25
"I, even I, am he who blots out
your transgressions, for my own sake,
and remembers your sins no more.

Whether Israel or us believers God blots out our transgressions not because of anything we do - but for his sake - His name.

Is 44:6
This is what the LORD says—
Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty:
I am the first and I am the last;
apart from me there is no God.

God is eternal from the first to the last - there is no other God - hence there is no other way to salvation except through Jesus Christ.

Is 45:1a
This is what the LORD says to his anointed,
to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of
to subdue nations before him...

This is an amazing prophecy because it was written 150 years BEFORE Cyrus's birth. The name in the text is of Persian origin so the people reading it would go "Huh?". At that time the Babylonians were the world power, and the Persians had not begun to rise in prominence.

God is a God of history - He used Cyrus as His appointed one - even though he did not know God. God is in control of all events - not just things concerning believers, and everything that has and will happen is part of His divine plan.

Something came to me one day when I was reading about idols.

Where do people put their TVs? Is it set up like an idol in their home? Yep. Decorate around it, build home theaters for it? Now go into debt for it so it can be the largest? Whew.

Mine is. My husband loves TV, he watches all the history channels, how they make things shows etc but mostly mindless 'comedy' shows, he is still wasting his time along with playing computer games online. I come home from work & try to tell him about my day or things we need to talk about or eat dinner & there it is in the background day & night! Arggh!
He is retired by the way.

So you can see my stance!
When I want to wind down for some escapism, I look thru the TV listings for something enlightening, someone preaching like Billy Graham etc, will tape it & watch it later.

If nothing is on, I go live life! Work in the yard, call a friend, do a craft, read to broaden my mind. (don't get me started on romance novels or graphic (comics) novels for young adults these days! I work in a library & kids are eating this garbage up! People are so starved for love they read thru these romances like they are searching for water, so sad If they would go live life they would possibly have a real relationship)

Sunday morning services on TV are what I watch on my treadmill every morning that I have taped.

Moderation in everything. TV etc are turning our children into mindless drones who are going to be our future leaders, that concerns me.

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