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Our Brains on Technology

Psalm 46-10“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” –Psalm 46:10

I read something interesting recently. Scientists have discovered that all of our electronic gizmos and gadgets may be doing yet another type of harm to our brains. (Or perhaps we’re allowing them to do this by not using them with care.)

Now I don’t have anything against electronic gizmos and gadgets. I listen to my mp3 player when I run. I check in on social media sites several times a day. I prefer typing on a keyboard to writing with a pen. I take my cell phone with me wherever I go.

But that’s why I found this study interesting.

You see, lately I’ve been longing for silence more and more. I leave the music off while driving in my truck. I say, “That’s enough,” and shut down my computer for the day. I often sense my eyes and my ears and my brain telling me to remove the noise—for a little while, at least, —so I let them rest by doing non-electronic things.

And that’s what this study has found we all need.

The scientists discovered that after we take in new information, our brains need downtime to process it. They need time to chew it up and absorb it, so it can stick with us. If we’re always taking information in without rest, the information can’t stay. So if we’re listening to music while talking on the phone while surfing the internet, we may think we’re relaxing, but we’re really stressing our brains out. Our electronic gizmos and gadgets allow us to multi-task like never before, but scientists say they are wearing us out.

I think this study shows that God knew what He was saying when He told us to “Be still and know that I am God.” If we really want to know something, we have to take time to be still. And what is more important to know than that our God is God! He will be exalted in the nations; He will be exalted in the earth!

Maybe this is why the things God taught me during my quiet time refuse to come back to me until I’m driving down the road in my truck or cleaning the floors in my home. Maybe mindless activity isn’t mindless at all—it’s time our minds can use to process and sort recent input. It’s also time our God can use to firmly stick His Truth to our brains.

Maybe this is why I learn best by rewriting headline verses and truths, praying about them, journaling my thoughts, and thinking about them in quiet moments over several days. If we want something to stick, we have to learn to be still.

Lord, please help us use technology wisely and well, turning off the noise when that is what we need. Remind us to be still, to know that You are God—to hear what you want us to hear—to carefully keep thoughts you want us to keep. Our minds are fearfully and wonderfully made—by You! Help us protect them, and use them in the way that You want us to. Thank You, Lord! For Your glory, Amen.

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Approaching God’s Word with Awe

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”Hebrews 4:12

Because the Bible is God’s Word, it is unlike any other book. The writer of Hebrews tells us it’s alive and active! It’s on the mission God created it for: “teaching, correcting, rebuking, and training in righteousness,” equipping God’s people for every good work. (See 2 Timothy 3:16-17.)

For this reason, we’re wise to approach it with awe. Reading the Bible is a privilege; it is a meeting with God! Here are a few ideas for you to consider to make the most of each meeting:

1. Schedule a regular time to meet with God through His Word every day. I like to read first thing every morning as I enjoy my first cup (or two) of coffee. Others like to read just before going to bed. Some listen to Bible CD’s or MP3’s on the way to work or receive daily Bible readings in their e-mail inbox or through a Bible app on their phone or tablet. Creatively choose a time and place that works for you; God will be there waiting each day. And, if you can only find a few moments each day to spare, give these to God. He will make use of them. Like the little boy with the loaves and the fish, offer what you can.

2. Prepare for your meeting with prayer. Before you even open your Bible (or turn on your reading device), ask the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s message for you for that day. Because God’s Word is living and active, God’s Spirit is able to deliver a custom message straight to you. No. The words don’t ever change, but God will use your life experiences and prayer concerns to open your heart to new layers of Truth. This is why it’s so important to keep reading the Bible, every day throughout your life. You can cross other books off your To-Be-Read list after you read them through, but when you finish reading the Bible, flip it over and start reading again.

Bible Verse Parachute3. Pay attention when you stumble across Bible verses in other places. Many of the books I read, even fictional stories, quote Bible verses within their pages. Christians who use social networking sites like Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ love to share Bible verses they find. And sometimes you’ll find Scripture used in home or business décor. If you have the time, don’t skim over these. Recognize them as God’s Word and read what He has to say.

Father, help us to remember, please, that Your Word is more than just another book to read. Help us to approach it with respect and anticipation, knowing it’s our link to You. Call us to read it daily and as we obey, reveal Your message that we’ll come to know ever more and more of You. Adjust our thoughts and attitudes. Make us better able to serve in Your Kingdom. Please make us more like You. We thank You for this priceless gift. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Note: Don’t forget to enter the drawing to win two copies of my new book, Parachute Prayer! The entry post is here.

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Psalm 51:6 on My Mind

NewOMM“Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.” -Psalm 51:6, ESV

In his sermon yesterday, my husband mentioned that marriage counseling, articles, and books are more popular than ever in today’s society–and yet divorce rates continue to stay high. I immediately knew why. I’m reading a book about nutrition right now. As the author makes suggestions, I often think, “That’s a great idea, but it won’t work for me.” I’m guessing that’s what a lot of people are saying as they go to marriage counseling or read the articles and books. I’m absolutely certain it happens in other areas, too. We seek wisdom then reject it by telling ourselves lies that stop us from implementing good ideas. And then we suffer for it.

(Note: I’m not saying we should implement every piece of advice we hear from a counselor or read in a book. Some of this advice really is just, plain wrong. We need to ask God to help us discern truth and implement it as He leads.)

New SpiralThis week’s On My Mind verse deals with that. It comes from Psalm 51–David’s prayer of confession after his affair with Bathsheba, murder of her husband, and confrontation by the prophet Nathan. Evidentally, David realized he’d been telling himself a lot of lies. You can read the rest of the Psalm to see what he did about it. It’s one of my favorites–a beautiful example of how to approach God when you realize you’ve done wrong or if you feel you need a check-up to be sure your heart is right.

Psalm 51:6 reminds us that God wants us to tell ourselves the truth. He wants us not only to acknowledge that it’s a good idea, but also to incorporate it into the deepest layers of our lives. Some versions use the word womb instead of inward being. Imagine that! God wants truth to begin growing inside of us from our earliest moments of existence! He wants to work His wisdom deeply into our lives.

Psalm 51-6As we memorize this verse this week, let’s pray that God will help us to recognize and implement truth in every aspect of life. Let’s pray He’ll reveal the lies we tell ourselves, so we can replace these with His truth in order to live healthier and happier, God-glorifying lives.

Thank You, Lord for delighting in truth in our inward beings. Teach us wisdom that we’ll live to honor You. Amen. 

Note: The pictures in this post are of my brand new spiral set of index cards. Beth Moore gave me this idea several years ago through her blog. Each week, I write out my new verse and place it by my computer where I’ll see it often. When I finish a spiral, I toss it in my purse, so I can flip through the verses to refresh my memory whenever I find myself in a waiting place on the go.