In this digital age, we have become accustomed to having things that make us more connected, maybe productive…at no extra cost. Or have we? The recent privacy debacle with Facebook has shown that there is a cost to the ‘free services’ that we inhabit. It is the data we give away, without thought and seemingly without care. Facebook is not alone, think google, yahoo and others…think of credit card companies who know our movements and purchasing….think of store cards that mean changed store layouts based on our habits – the customers. We are in the Brave New World….these things we get for free have a hidden cost. These days that cost is becoming a little more visible.
Latest short devotion for the Team
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” 1 John 3:16 (NIV)
The search for love and the desire to be wanted is within us all. Think of all the love songs, the films and the tragedies of life that are centred around the need to ‘love and be loved’. This verse tells us of the greatest love of all and the response that it should invoke in each and every one of us.
The greatest sacrifice known to man is shown in those willing to sacrifice their own life for another. We have recently celebrated the 100 Anniversary of the First World War and many tributes have been paid to those who gave their lives for our freedom. We have also celebrated the birth of a baby, whose whole purpose in life was to face death so that we may have true life. This is love beyond measure – Almighty God chose to reveal himself in Christ Jesus, as an infant so that through His life, death and subsequent resurrection, that we may have life.
The life of Jesus demands a response – if we accept it, it tells us what we ought to do as well. Are you willing to sacrifice your own desires, dreams and riches for the sake of others? The Christian life requires that willingness, this is no easy thing, a willingness to lay down our own lives for others.
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1
The strength and depth of this verse is overwhelming. Love was not just given to us, not just passed on….it was ‘lavished’ on us. It was given with great abandon and with a flourish. The father has given love in abundance, in great measure…..wowser! And we can be called ‘children of God’ – a title of greatest honour, to anyone who receives Him and believes in His name – and in that, we can have certainty, no searching for certificates of authenticity, we can know it with assurance.
How is this love demonstrated? Through the life of Jesus (celebrated at Christmas), His death and His resurrection. He gave of himself that we may have life. He ‘lavished’ love on us…..with complete abandon…..awesome! So, children of God, revel in it!
Another short reflection for the Facebook devotions of Emmanuel Beach Team
“The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2:17
The ‘Black Friday’ deals were a revelation in the UK this year, the clamour for belongings and the desire to have more ‘stuff’, yet despite this, there will then be the boxing day sales and the new year extravagance. The opulence of the super wealthy against the world’s poorest people is beyond comprehension, yet we continually see the tension for the people that love Jesus – how much ‘stuff’ is necessary? Jesus was born in a borrowed stable, died in a risen tomb but now sits at the right hand of the Father. It is not worldly wealth and possessions that will sustain us, it is a heart set on Jesus. There is nothing wrong with having possessions, it is how we view them and how we use them that matter. What are the important things in our lives?
Do you love Him? Will you obey His commands? Do you walk like Jesus walked? One thing that money cannot buy – eternal life. However, it is freely given. Where are your desires placed? In the will of the Father? Get it right and true life will be yours.
Another reflection for the facebook wall of Emmanuel Beach Team:
“Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did” (1 John 2:6 NIV)
People copy others all the time, don’t they? The latest fashions, the latest trends, the latest styles – the flavours tend to change with the seasons but it is amazing how much we love to be a copy of others. The book of 1John has started with a pronouncement of witnessing to Jesus, the need to walk a Holy life and then mentions that “if we love Him, we will obey His commands”. Then we have the modern day conundrum – copy someone, but make it Jesus. Walk as Jesus walked – in close communion with the Father, in the light of His goodness knowing freedom from sin because of Christ.
We need to live our lives as Jesus did, abandoned to the Father and pointing to Him with our lives. It is no easy task but we have Jesus and we have each other – this is the community of faith, this is the Church.
Flickr has consistently been a favourite of mine for sharing photographs, well that was until earlier this year. I have reduced my time there and my sharing has been more limited with Instagram taking up more time. This week, the instagram love was knocked as its features with twitter had a few changes in the ecosystem and questions arose regarding its long term viability.
Today something changed, Flickr demonstrated that it was once again getting serious – an iOS app that rocks the mobile world. It is fabulous – sharing, noting, groups, pretty much everything. The yahoo gods have chosen to wake up and invest in the best photo sharing site available (yesteryear) and we have hope that once again, photos sharing will be fun.
The only downside is that there is no android version (an issue for me) but there are promises that one will appear. Meanwhile, I am back to drooling over this new app and looking forward to sharing the Flickr love once more.
I am intrigued at the moment in watching, observing and engaging in different discussions/arguments/debates. There are plenty in the blog world, on social network sites, in church and pretty much everywhere – all of them have one thing in common. People have become lazy in listening to the arguments being presented. This laziness may be due to online social networks where ‘sound bytes’ are king but I think it goes deeper, it may be because relationships are not deep enough.
People gravitate to a ‘party line’ and then rekindle the well trodden arguments that everyone knows thereby keeping them in a place where they are safe, comfortable and can appear strong. In doing so, they miss important points being made and can miss opportunities for growth. It is a real shame.
Let’s commit to listening to one another a little more and stop being lazy.