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The World, The Christ, and Us – Part 1

The lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life…

Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4 NKJV)

15Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.  17The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17 NASB)

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17 NKJV)

15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the vain glory of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.  (1 John 2:15-17 ASV)

15 Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. Because everything that belongs to the world— 16 the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle—is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God’s will remains forever. (1 John 2:15-17 HCSB)

15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  17And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (1 John 2:15-17 KJV)

15Love not ye the world, nor the things in the world; if any one doth love the world, the love of the Father is not in him,  16because all that [is] in the world — the desire of the flesh, and the desire of the eyes, and the ostentation of the life — is not of the Father, but of the world,  17and the world doth pass away, and the desire of it, and he who is doing the will of God, he doth remain — to the age. (1 John 2:15-17 YLT)

15Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For everything in the world—the cravings 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. 17The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17 NIV)

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the des ires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17 ESV)

I looked this verse up in many translations that I would consider to be reliable and printed them here to reflect on.  I like the ESV translation, especially with regards to the first two of the three—“the desires of the flesh” and “the desires of the eyes”—but as I continue to mull over and meditate on this passage I think that “pride in possessions” falls a little short of what I think John is saying.  I’ll try to make more sense of that as I proceed.  First, though, I’d like to consider the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes.

The lust (or the desires) of the flesh… these are physical appetites of the body.  It is important to understand that these may be God-given needs—such as food to feed the body, physical comfort (so that we may rest), and sex (both for pleasure and for pro-creation).  But as a result of Adam’s sin, and of our fallen and corrupt natures, these physical needs and appetites are distorted and out of balance.  We should be in control of our appetites.  But because of sin, they are most often in control of us.  We are slaves to food, alcohol (or other intoxicants), and to sexual passions, but God did not create man to be enslaved by these things.  He created these (some of them anyway) for man’s enjoyment, not his enslavement.  The enslavement to them is a result of sin, and results in further bondage to sin.

I understand the lust (or the desires) of the eyes pertain to those things that are external to our bodies.  The lust of the eyes is most often associated with covetousness.  Our eyes are seeking things to derive pleasure (or worth) from, although this is a certainly different from the sensual pleasure that comes from sex, food, or intoxicating substances that have a direct effect on our physical nature.  The pleasure that comes from gambling or winning the lottery, from buying a boat or a new car or a new house, or even some new clothes or jewelry is very real and can be very intense.  And most certainly there is an emotional aspect to the acquisition of such things, but it is obviously pleasure of a very different sort than would be had from a large meal, sexual intercourse, or an intoxicating substance.  It is a pleasure that is more oriented to the mind or, as our Christian forefathers centuries ago might say to the “affections” (or the heart) than it is to the body.

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Zombie Vision: The Electric Window to the World of the Dead

Today’s post includes another interesting article I found on the effects of television.  I decided to call it Zombie Vision: The Electric Window to the World of the Dead.

If you think these posts on the harmful effects of television are getting old, or that I am being excessive in my focus on television, I want you to understand that there is a reason I am doing this.  Most people turn on the television for hours and hours a day, soaking in the worldview and the propaganda that someone else wants you to swallow.  Most people are bombarded with so much more of the message that television wants to feed you than they will ever be from someone trying to get them to break free of its influence.  It’s kind of like someone who is on drugs.  Typically, they have surrounded themselves with people who communicate a message that keeps them in bondage.  Oh sure, from time to time, someone outside of their culture and their circle of drug-abusing friends comes with a message of hope, an attempt to bring freedom.  But most of the time, the message to break free fades quickly as the addict turns back to the ones communicating the message that drugs are good to be desired. . . and he (or she) remains in bondage.

If you are like most people in the western civilized world, you are already being bombarded with information telling you that TV is good, that it is your friend, that it is the window into what is happening, that it is necessary, that it is useful.  Television markets and advertises itself.  The people who invest billions and billions of dollars every year in television and movies so that they can influence you– they want you to believe in its inherent good.  They want you believe in and to desire what it promises to give you.  But as the writer of Ecclesiastes says, it is all just vanity.  Emptiness.  Unlike the promises of God (which are always YES), there is nothing to deliver in the empty, vacuous promises of television.  There is only deception and discontent.  And you can see the reflection of the empty, vacuous promises of television reflected aptly in the vacant, zombie-like stare of the viewer.

Now, if you have taken the bait and swallowed the hook, you will not like what I am saying. . . not one bit.  But to see the truth of what I’m saying, you have to break away from the hypnotist, pursue knowledge (from God instead of the world) and really contemplate.  That is, you must escape the trap of superficial thinking that our technology has caused us to become ensnared by before you can see the what a little cell your mind has actually been indwelling.  It is like a person that is asleep, who in their dreams have gone a great many places, but when they wake up realize they have never even left their bed.

The next cold splash of water that I intend to throw on you, O Sleeper, is an article written by Katherine Westphal.

Before you read what she wrote, though, please read and think about what the Apostle Paul had to say to the Ephesian church and consider its relevance to our current love of television and movies in this day and age.  Read it more than once.  And contemplate.  This is the word of God.

3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Now ask yourself, how compatible is what you see when you turn on the tube and tune into what it offers with the word of God?

The Awful Truth About Television:
The Zombie Look

by Katherine Westphal

TV’s got your attention

Once your attention is glued to the screen due to the orientation response, some very strange, but subtle, things start to happen to your brain, when you watch TV. The effects can feel somewhat pleasant and relaxing, at least while the TV is on.

Zombie eyes

Look closely into the eyes of anyone who is watching TV. Most of the time they have a zombie-like, spaced-out, empty look to them. Unfortunately, there have been very few studies done to examine this phenomenon. The few published studies present a rather frightening picture of what the human brain looks like when it is hooked to a TV.

Watching TV may feel relaxing. TV has a remarkable ability to shut out the rest of our crazy world. All the world’s problems vanish as your TV program wraps you in a cozy Neverland; or so it seems.

Brain goes into hypnotic state

In fact, the brain goes into an alpha brainwave state. This state feels relaxing. Viewers become less alert and more passive. The state is comparable to hypnosis.

Surprisingly, the lowered alertness and feelings of passivity do not end after viewers turn the TV off. The culprit for this effect is most likely the cathode ray tubes in the TV monitors, which can produce a flicker that the conscious mind does not detect.

According to a Scientific American study, “survey participants commonly reflect that television has somehow absorbed or sucked out their energy, leaving them depleted. They say they have more difficulty concentrating after viewing than before.

Early experiment showed children passive when watching favorite programs

Other studies have linked the passivity to the left side of the brain shutting down. The left brain is primarily responsible for logical analysis and thought. In the Mulholland experiment, 10 children watched their favorite television program, while the researchers monitored their brainwave patterns. The researchers expected that the children would show a preponderance of beta waves. This would indicate that they were involved and responding to their favorite programs. Instead, they stayed in alpha. “They just sat back. They stayed almost the whole time in alpha. That meant that while they were watching they were not reacting, not orienting, not focusing, just spaced out,” said Dr. Eric Peper.

Similarly, in the early 1980’s, researchers in Australia found that the left brain “sort of went to sleep” once TV was switched on but the right brain was busy “storing information in its memory bank”.

Scandalously, there has been virtually no follow up on these experiments. Researchers could not get funding. Aside from a few early experiments in the US and in the 1970’s and early 1980’s in Australia, the neurophysiology of watching television is relatively unexplored.

Moods are the same or worse after turning TV off

Furthermore, researchers found that after they turned off the TV, people’s moods were about the same or worse than before they turned the television on . Television may provide a quick fix for emotional problems, but it lasts only as long as the viewer is watching TV. If viewers are trying to avoid painful feelings, those feelings will return immediately when they turn off the TV.

Critical brain functions shut down

What these studies show is that the right side of the brain may be dutifully absorbing all the images from your television screen, but the left side, which does critical analysis, is lulled into a stupor by the television’s flicker. This makes analysis of the images difficult. It also makes it difficult to remember exactly what you have been watching. Furthermore, the research suggests that the left side of the brain may remain in a stupor even after the viewer turns the TV off.

This has profound implications for watching news and other forms of educational TV. In some ways, it is a form of learning. At best, however, TV learning is comparable to sleep teaching. That may have some use, especially for producers of commercials. However, for subjects that require analysis and careful thought, the TV is virtually useless. It is more effective to read newspapers to learn about world events, than to watch it on a screen.

TV causes ADHD symptoms in children

Television can be especially damaging to developing minds. A disturbing 2004 study found that watching TV at ages one and three caused attention-related problems at age 7. The attention problems included whether the child had difficulty concentrating, was easily confused, was impulsive, had trouble with obsessions, or was restless. These are symptoms of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

The researchers speculate that the developing brain may be more vulnerable to the over-stimulation of TV. Both the researchers and the sponsors of the study, The American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend that parents exercise caution in letting their children under the age of 2 years watch any television.

This particular study only looked at very young children. However, given the other effects on the brain discussed earlier, especially the effects on concentration, it is likely that the television set is causing attention-related problems in older children and adults.

What will be the effects of HDTV and DTV?

Very little is known about how the new high definition TVs (HDTVs) will affect brain function. Given that the technology involves staring at a more detailed picture, it is possible that the effects will be the same as regular TVs, but significantly stronger.

Plain digital television (DTV), which is what most people will be watching after the digital transtition in February 2009, is another unknown. With the converter boxes, the effect could be the same as normal TV. The truth, however, is that no one has really examined how the new technology will effect viewers’ brains. Viewers will basically be guinea pigs in a giant experiment.

Sources:
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=0005339B-A694-1CC5-B4A8809EC588EEDF
Mander, Jerry. Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television Morrrow Quill Paperbacks: New York. p. 210
http://www.raphaelhouse.school.nz/index.php?pid=59

3    But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.
4    Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.
5    For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
6    Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
7    Therefore do not become partners with them;
8    for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
9    (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),
10    and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.
11    Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
12    For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.
13    But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible,
14    for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
15    Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,
16    making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

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God Is Not a Grandfather!

My friend and fellow blogger Skip Athey has a post on his site titled “The Consequences of Forgetting God”. Here’s an excerpt from this post:

We are living with the consequences of turning away from the truth of God’s word and embracing lies. Even within the church we have adopted these lies as if they were the truth and ordered our homes and churches accordingly. What are the lies we have adopted? The answer to that in my next blog entry, first, I want to look at the Scriptures and see that this practice is not new to our generation.
(Judges 2:7-15)
In this text we find that Joshua was at the end of his life, the Lord had just reminded him to remind the people of what God had done for them and not to turn away from the word of God. We find in verse seven, “And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua.” Next we read that Joshua dies then in verse ten we read, “And all of that generation was also gathered to their fathers…” Those who served with Joshua had died and now their children were in charge. At the end of verse ten a very sad statement is made, “And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.”

When I read this post, it reminded me of something similar I had read when going through the Crown Financial study. Taken directly from the perspective on Eternity in the study manual, it says:

In 1904, the country of Wales experienced a dramatic revival. Thousands of people were introduced to Christ, and the results were dramatic. Bars closed because of lack of business. Policeman exchanged their weapons for white gloves because crime disappeared. Wales was so evangelically minded that it sent missionaries all over the world.

One of those missionaries traveled to Argentina where on the streets he led a young boy to Christ. The boy’s name was Luis Palau. He has since become known as the “Billy Graham of Latin America.” Palau visited Wales to express his thankfulness for being led to Christ. What he discovered was astonishing. Less than one-half of one percent of the Welsh attended church. Divorce was at an all-time high, and crime was increasing.

As a result of this experience, Palau produced a film titled God Has No Grandchildren. The thrust of the film is that each generation is responsible for passing on the faith to the next. In Wales, the impact of Christianity had all but disappeared.

Each generation is responsible for passing on the truths of Scripture… to it’s children. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.

——

I think one of the greatest temptations that we face in this culture of affluence is to embrace the culture while ignoring God. We live in a culture that flat out denies Christ and everything He represents. We live under the influence of idols and most of the populace is so numb that they don’t even wonder why the vast majority of people in America are taking prescription drugs for depression or anxiety, living without happiness through jobs, marriage (or even more commonly divorce), parenting, and every other experience. Most people get what little joy they have either from direct sin-interaction, or from watching some mindless shows on TV that help them forget for a little while how miserable they are.

WHAT!? What is wrong with us!? Ninety percent of the rest of the world would *gladly* suffer in our place! For all our luxury and comfort and convenience, we sure seem to be a miserable lot. Most of the people I’ve known in my life who do not know Christ only know happiness in depravity. Of course, that is not too surprising because without Christ, we are utterly depraved. What amazes me, though, is that more people don’t ask themselves, “Just what is going on? How can I have so many things to be thankful for, yet continue to be so miserable?”

Obviously something is missing, but too often people don’t even realize that what is they need is the very thing they mock, distort, deride, and run from. I know all too well. I lived in complete ignorance of Christ for the first 27 years of my life and was blind to my need for a Savior. I have no idea why or how God chose to open the blinded eyes of my foolish heart when I rejected Him so completely. Yet for some reason which I may never truly comprehend, He did. I will never stop thanking and praising Him for it because I know it was most definitely nothing I did on my own, or deserved in the least. For His own good pleasure and His own glory did He turn my heart toward Him. And now, as a parent, I feel such a great responsibility to everything in my power to make His Word known to my children, with the hopes that they will hear His call, and hopefully long before I did. I really fear for the generation to come because even this generation that I am a part of has largely fallen away.

Mat 9:35 Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.
Mat 9:36 Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.
Mat 9:37 Then He *said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.
Mat 9:38 “Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”

May we all pray that the Lord of the harvest will send out His workers into His harvest.

Peace & Blessing,
Simple Mann

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