Are You ‘Connected’? [v116]

OCTOBER 2008

ARE YOU ‘CONNECTED’?
Way back in 1993, a few business associates and myself were some of the first in the public sector to ‘connect’ to the “World Wide Web,” or today just referred to as the Internet.

At that time, we had to go through a cumbersome, and ‘deathly’ slow process of “logging on.” It consisted of dialing a phone number and waiting for the “modem” to stop squeaking and squawking to be connected (most of the time) to the ‘web’. (With our new, at the time, “super speed” 1200 baud modem, we could receive a maximum of 1.2 kbits per second—comparatively, today’s “broadband” cable service is 600-1,000 times faster!).

But then, more often than not in those early days, the connection would be “dropped” and you’d have to go through the whole process of logging on again (pretty frustrating!).

In those days, you were either “on” or “off” the web. You connected, checked your e-mail, visited one of just a few thousand web sites (ours being one of them), and logged off (especially since you were being  charged an ‘absorbent’ amount by the minute). Today, however, the days of “logging on” are rapidly disappearing.

At the end of 2007, 68% of Americans regularly access the Internet at home, with 55% being a broadband connection (though broadband access—cable and DSL—is ‘available’ to more than 98% of the U.S. households). [Note: The U.S. isn’t even in the top 10 among industrialized nations—the Netherlands leads the world with 83% access, with 74% being broadband].

For the broadband users, the ‘connection’ is “ALWAYS ON”—as long as your computer is turned on (and many people never turn them off these days—like my daughter, Arielle), you are CONNECTED.

So, these days, you no longer have to ‘DECIDE’ to connect to the flow of information—it’s always there—and is constantly being ‘streamed’ to anyone that wants it.

I was thinking that this might be a helpful analogy to the kind of ‘Christianity’ we are experiencing in the U.S. today—people using the “dial-up” mode that go to church once in a while, or pray when their in ‘trouble’, or the “broadband” mode in that they are always connected to God, ‘listening’ to determine His will for their lives on a minute-by-minute basis. Remembering how one has connected to the web in the early days—logging in for a specific amount of time, doing what you needed to do, then logging off—if there was something happening in the world, or if someone sent you an e-mail while you were logged off, well, you didn’t know about it until you logged back in again.

So, what I’d like to propose is to apply to the ‘living out’ of our Christianity a similar ‘revolution’ to what we’ve seen with the Internet—not just ‘logging on’ with God once a week or even once a day, but having an ‘always on’ connection with Him, ‘walking’ in the Spirit, and living moment-to-moment with our Creator.

Just as in the early days of the Internet, the ‘danger’ with the “dial-up” mode with God is that you’re liable to miss something He wants you to see, hear, experience, or learn from Him.

The way I see it, there are a few ‘dangers’ with a “dial-up” connection with God. Primarily, we’re probably going to ‘miss’ a lot:

– We’ll miss those divine ‘appointments’ with the people we interact with daily—maybe an opportunity to give or receive something special from each encounter

– We’ll miss divine ‘directions’—maybe completely missing the opportunity to see God ‘work’ in our lives and/or ‘save’ us from a calamity

– We’ll miss divine ‘communications’—maybe failing to notice that He wants to encourage or just tell us He loves us and is ‘proud’ of us

– We’ll miss those divine ‘opportunities’—helping us make the right decision when a ‘door’ is opened, however illogical it seems at the time

However, I only see ‘benefits’ with a “broadband” connection with God:

– We’ll have a better ‘attitude’—living with expectancy that God is going to see to our best interest

– We’ll have ‘gratitude’—seeing life as a ‘gift’, and stop thinking in terms of “luck” or “coincidence,” and start thinking in terms of His generous ‘hand’

– We’ll know ‘beatitude’—experiencing ‘blessings’ that we usually overlook, and in-turn begin to dispense blessing to others

– We’ll experience ‘latitude’—seeing our ‘value’ to Him as a part of His grand ‘plan’ for this world, and be encouraged to get involved

– We’ll know His ‘magnitude’—knowing God awesomeness and that getting our eyes off ourselves and onto Him will help keep our ‘problems’ in perspective

– We’ll have better ‘aptitude’—becoming much wiser as we constantly converse with ‘THE’ certified ‘genius’

While I’m not suggesting that one always be available 24/7 to everyone here on earth—since never allowing yourself to ‘rest’ causes long-term disorders and emotional problems—ALWAYS BEING CONNECTED to God isn’t ‘draining’, but uplifting and invigorating, calming and peaceful. Since He created you, He knows you better that you know yourself, and knows what you need—but He won’t ‘force’ himself on you, you’ll need to make the conscious DECISION to want Him to be the ‘driver’ rather than the ‘passenger’.

For those who ‘know’ the God of the Bible, let me encourage you to try this out for the next 21 days (the accepted time to adopt a new behavior)—you’ll wonder how you ever lived without doing it.

For those who are not sure about this ‘God thing’, or who are currently ‘seeking’ to know Him ‘personally’, just continually ask God for Him to ‘show’ you who He is. The Bible has many verses that talk about how He guides us (consider entering some terms to search for at Bible Gateway: http://www.biblegateway.com/ ). A few of my favorites are:

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” [Psalm 119:105].

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come” [John 16:13].

And my personal ‘life verse’:

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” [Proverbs 3:5-6].

[Excerpts from: David Jeremiah; Charley Stanley; Woodrow Kroll]

(If you would like to investigate further what it really means to “believe”, visit the following link:
http://www.thesearchformeaning.net/sfm_pres/sp_q10_d1_1of10.html ).

Blessings,
Mark

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v116) for OCTOBER 2008
If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

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GOD, SHOW ME THE WAY
There are times I wonder,
can I make it through this day?
Then I know for sure I can,
for God shows me the way.

The best day of my life,
is what today is going to be
If you wonder how I know,
it’s because God holds the key.

I may stumble or I may fall
as day turns into night
But then I look towards the sky
and see the shining light.

I’ll hold my head high;
I’ll have a happy heart
Just so long as God and
I are not very far apart.

The hardships in my life,
have made me stronger still
It’s because within my heart,
I believe it is God’s will.

I marvel at God’s simple gifts
he gives to me and you
The sun, the clouds, the flowers…
glistening with morning dew.

Today I shall not worry
of things that I have not,
Instead I’ll say a prayer of thanks,
to God, for what I’ve got.

Today I’ll try to cheer a friend,
which is feeling down,
I’ll ask God to place a smile,
where once there was a frown.

I’ll also remember,
that worry is a waste of time,
Because my faith in God ensures,
everything will be just fine.

Before I go to bed tonight,
I’ll gaze at the heavens above,
For where else could I possibly
look to find eternal love?
[Ruth Ann Mahaffey]

*****************************
LEAD ME ON
Shoulder to the wheel
For someone elses selfish gain
Here there is no choosing
Working the clay
Wearing their anger like a ball and chain.

Fire in the field
Underneath a blazing sun
But soon the sun was faded
And freedom was a song
I heard them singing when the day was done
Singing to the holy one.

Lead me on
Lead me on
To a place where the river runs
Into your keeping, oh.

Lead me on
Lead me on
The awaited deliverance
Comforts the seeking…lead on.

Waiting for the train
Labelled with a golden star
Heavy hearted boarding
Whispers in the dark
Where are we going–is it very far?

Bitter cold terrain
Echoes of a slamming door
In chambers made for sleeping, forever
Voices like thunder in a mighty roar
Cry to the lord.

Lead me on
Lead me on
To a place where the river runs
Into your keeping, oh.

Lead me on
Lead me on
The awaited deliverance
Comforts the seeking…lead on.

Man hurts man
Time and time, time again
And we drown in the wake of our power
Somebody tell me why.

Lead me on
Lead me on
To a place where the river runs
Into your keeping, oh.

Lead me on
Lead me on
The awaited deliverance
Comforts the seeking…lead on.

Lead me on
Lead me on
To a place where the river runs
Into your keeping, oh.

Lead me on
Lead me on
The awaited deliverance
Comforts the seeking…lead on.
[Amy Grant – From her Album “Lead Me On”]

To listen to it, click the link below:
http://www.spiritedesign.com/misc/LeadMeOn(AmyGrant).mp3

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DEEP THOUGHT:
“Show me your ways, O Lord,
 teach me your paths;
 guide me in your truth and teach me,
 for you are God my Savior,
 and my hope is in you all day long.”
[King David (Psalm 25:4-5)]

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“And we know that all things 
work together for good to them 
that love God, to them who are the
 called according to His purpose” [Romans 8:28].

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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