I listened to a fantastic blog post from Desiring God Ministries yesterday (link below). In this short seven minute post, Bruce Hindmarsh shares a lot of incites, reminders and importances of why unplugging, shutting down, and disconnecting is important and healthy for a productive spiritual life, family life and important to relationships in general.
In my personal life, several weeks ago, I started a form of discipline from the influences of social media. I decided that I was allowing ridiculous fB posts, Instagram pics, and tweets to distract me from REAL LIFE (this is another post that I'm working on). I have resolved to not look at any form of social media before noon, which usually even delays this medias influence in my life even longer into the day...sometimes into all day. This personal resolution has been going quite well. When my fingers make those automatic key swipes, I've noticed that I check the time and shut them down if they are not within my parameters.
Be honest with yourself and reflect on the time that you too have been guilty of throwing to the gnomes of social media, never to be reclaimed. When talking with a youth pastor friend about this subject weeks ago, he showed me the file on his iPhone where he stores all his social media app tabs, it's titled "Time Wasters". I too considered renaming my 'social media' folder to 'time wasters' however that's the one thing I want to stay away from...wasting the one of the greatest blessings that God grants, TIME. I have chosen to become much more controlling in my distribution of the 1,440 minutes that I have each day.
iPhone Fasting Podcast
When my oldest son Fisher was born my mother came to Guatemala with a bible for him. It has sat in my study closet, in a box for several years, waiting a good time for us to give it to him. As I was setting goals for the 2015 year and wanting to go through the bible again, I considered how I was going to do this (electronic version, which version, or my favorite go to calf skin and paper) I then remembered his bible. I though, "How great would it be to read through this particular bible and present it to him as a Christmas present this year?" So that's what I am doing. Thus, if you are friends with me on the Bible App and notice huge chunks of scripture being checked off with only minutes in between, it's because I'm using the app as my guide. I am no speed reader.
As I was reading recently in Joshua I was face to face with an example of a man who did not ever quit. A man who pushed through. A man who was faithful. A man who remained healthy and strong. A man who lived relying on the promises of God's faithfulness. Caleb. Joshua 14:10-12, "...And now, behold, I am this day eighty-five years old. I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming. So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the Lord said." Incase you are not aware, Caleb was one of the twelve spies that Moses sent in to the Promise Land to scout out the land that the Lord had given. Joshua and Caleb were the only two that returned trusting that God would come through on His promise.
Reading Caleb's words makes me excited about growing old as a man who continues faithful living in the shadow and confidence that God will come through on his promise. Caleb had not allowed his confidence to be quenched. Was Caleb like the crazy uncle who thought he could take on anyone in a fight as an 85 year old -just because OR did if he really did retain his physical strength? Either, I don't feel is important to my thought. The Lord had never failed to come through on His promises and Caleb never failed to trust. Caleb never quit. Never quit believing, never quit waiting, never quit trusting, he never quit. He was as ready to keep fighting battles as an old man just as he had in his prime.
This is what I want to be like. I don't have to be the 90 year old, who can still crank out pull ups, step into the octagon, or run a marathon. (Don't get me wrong, it would be pretty sweet to be able to give grandkids and great grandkids a run for their money.) I want to be the 90 year old who never loses sight of God's faithfulness and my part in obedience. I want to run and not grow weary. I want to run the race in a manner as to obtain the prize. I don't want to ever quit. I will never quit.
Every summer from when I turned six until after my 17th birthday, playing baseball consumed my Spring. The pressure and competition that existed then is so different from today with the travel teams, amount of practices, there are so many all star teams, and world series'. The quality and science behind the equipment and safety precautions that have been taken will continue to elevate the development of players and level of competition.
Though there are many changes one thing in baseball has never changed. The fundamentals: Throwing, Catching, and Hitting. As with most sports, fundamentals matter. Baseball is unique in that it is slow enough to think through play-by-play before the next pitch. One fundamental in baseball that I was always reminded of each season is, "Pete! What are you going to do if the ball is hit to you?" Depending on where the base runners were located, their speed, who running behind them, where the ball was hit (to my right or left), and many more were all factors I had to be considering the moment the pitcher released the ball. Thus, the reason, coaches are notorious for yelling, "GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME!" I heard that many times. There are individual aspects to baseball but it is a team sport. So, players are also responsible to know what to do when a ball is thrown or hit to someone who is playing next to or in front of them. Baseball is a game of mental toughness, physical strength and precision & skill.
I'm probably the only weird one but I have considered how real life and baseball play by play fundamentals are similar in their use, in order to see success. As a Christian, I am taught to "take every thought captive to the obedience in Christ Jesus" to "flee from sexual immorality" to "love the Lord with all my heart, mind, soul and strength and to love my neighbor as my self." There are so many verses that I would call fundamental to me living a life that follows after Christ.
All of us want to see success in life...in what we do...in who we are...in our goals. Sometimes we are wanting to become more aware of others around us, hold our tongue (make sure your hands are clean before you do), avoid lust and temptations, and more. I have found success in applying a similar technique that I learned in baseball that keeps me on my toes. There are many areas in my life where I have adopted a cause and effect policy. That is, situations where I have already made my mind up, as to what I will do, if __________ happens. This is all for the purpose of living a life above reproach, steering myself away from temptation, and living with purpose and vision. For me constantly "keeping my head in the game" is key to living the life just described. I do this by meditation, meditation on God's word. Keeping my mind trained and focused to a life following after Christ is crucial. Two verses I hold close as reminders to live this life are Joshua 1:8 and Psalm 1.
Joshua 1:8 "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success." and Psalm 1:1-2 "Blessed is the man who walks not the in counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of sinners, but his delight is in the delight of the Law and on it he mediates day and night."
May you too be challenged to let the word of God lead and guide you in your life decisions. Meditate. Keep your head in the game.
Christ Follower, Husband, Father, Student Pastor, and Lover of all things Garlic and Bacon.