Category Archive: Information Overload

O Come Emmanuel

qtq80-rNB6zW‘Tis the week before Christmas … and we’re done! Both Don’s and my families celebrated together a week ago, due to travel schedules and availability of various family members. And yet, we’re far from finished. Advent is “the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.” This, especially the four weeks preceding Christmas, is a season of anticipation.

Jesus-followers rejoice in the celebration of the coming of the Messiah, the Savior, the Prince of Peace. As we remember His first coming to earth, we rejoice that He is with us today. He is with and in His followers, guiding, directing, giving us hope–hope which we can then share with others who are hurting in a variety of ways.

The immediacy of television, social media, and the internet keep us constantly battered–earthquakes here, ongoing bombing and multiple orphaned children in Aleppo, car bombs in Istanbul. Not only do we hear news real-time; its immediacy makes us feel that we are involved in what is happening around the world. This feeling of intimacy with events is not real, but it does arouse fear in us. What’s next? When will another terrorist attack occur? Where will it all end?qtq80-L0GhQz

Oh, we need a Savior. Even with our Deliverer, we sometimes despair. The constant influx of negative news wears on our spirits. We can’t hide from it. Where today we have instant replays one after another, Jesus and His disciples walked from Jerusalem to Bethany, or Cana, or the Jordan River–walks that could take from a few hours to a couple of days. During those walks Jesus taught them along the way. And they could process the events of their day, which were also exceeding frightful.

I feel that in the busyness of American lives (some of our over-scheduling self-inflicted, no doubt) we have lost much of that time and opportunity to process. Instead, we move from crisis to crisis, bad news to more bad news.

But our Messiah, our Savior, has come!

“Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;healing-glory
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.”

          * Lyrics by Chris Tomlin

I often feel the need to be released from my fears and sins, to find rest in my God. So I will never be ‘done’ with Christmas. How about you?

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Information Overload

“Think fast, shop now: save 40-60% on bed and bath closeouts”

“Activation Alert – Respond Now”

“Blood drive … mortgage payment due … 21% off ends tonight … campaign highlights … you’ve been chosen … last day … last day …”

Information Overload

Information Overload

Do you, like me, ever feel overwhelmed by the information overload coming our way over the internet, telephone, and mail?

Pastor Rene reminded us this weekend that when the Pharisees were trying to goad Jesus into saying something for which they could condemn Him, they asked which was the most important commandment.

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)

If I am to love God and my neighbor, I need to assess what drains my love. One of those drains is uncontrolled input overload. Rene said we live in such a media-saturated culture that we can actually suffer second-hand Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). We are faced on every side withroller coaster mayhem

  • requests for financial support – political, social, faith-based
  • images of horror in our world, far away and near
  • knowledge of the many kinds of evil around us; and
  • a myriad of advertisements, trying to get us to purchase more and more we don’t need, with money we may not have.

When I see an accident and can help, I am loving others. When faced with an unexpected interruption, I recognize it may be God’s direction to change my priorities that day. But there are things I can control. I’m making some changes so my energy for loving God and others can remain high.

  1. I’ve chosen to stop watching some television that isn’t helpful to my spirit
  2. I’ve just unsubscribed from a number of “good causes” because I can’t commit to all of them.
  3. I’ve unsubscribed from some shopping sites because I can waste a lot of time there. And
  4. I no longer read every email or every online post.

While I want to be aware of key world events, many of the above have nothing to do with the needs of others and more to do with stimulating my selfish desires, preying on guilt (“you should give to every worthy cause …”), or simply taking up time that could be more productive for the Kingdom. I don’t need to give mental real estate to everything that comes my way. A wise man encouraged us “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23, NIV)

Love God, Love Others

Love God, Love Others

Lord, continue your work in progress in me. Help me to focus on you, to see the pain and agony in our world through your eyes. I desire to love you first so that I can then love others with the love you have poured into me.