A P U B L I C AT I O N O F O N M Y O W N N O W M I N I S T R I E S
Young Christian Woman The Problem with Prom Managing Dual Citizenship Nation and Kindgom
To Be AND Not to Be
104 New Testament Commands
Which Ones Are
Actually Useful Apps? w w w. o n m y o w n n o w. c o m
in this Single! Young Christian Woman Feb 2012, Vol. 4 On My Own Now Ministries, Inc., Publisher Donna Lee Schillinger, Editor Donna Lee Schillinger with Daniela Bermudez, Page Design Kimberly M. Schluterman Editorial Support Contributors Shellie R. Warren, Jeffrey Bridgman, Kimberly Schluterman, Tamara Jane, Julie Ann Except where noted, content is copyright 2012 On My Own Now Ministries. Articles may be reprinted with credit to author, Single! and www.OnMyOwnNow.com. On My Own Now Ministries, Inc. is a nonprofit organization with a 501 (c) (3) determination. Your donations aid in our mission to encourage faith, wise life choices and Christ-likeness in young adults during their transition to living on their own. We welcome submissions of original or repurposed articles that are contributed without expectation of compensation. May God repay you. Visit us at www.OnMyOwnNow.com.
Center Ring To Be AND Not to Be 104 New Testament Commands by God
Straight Talk from the Proverbs Bored Yet? by Donna Lee Schillinger An Election Year Managing Dual Citizenship: Kingdom and Nation by Nathaniel P. Scott Fashion DIVinA The Problem with Prom by Donna Lee Schillinger Moving Out...Settling In A New Set of Lenses by Thomas Mollohan Just What You Need Which are the Actually Useful Apps? by Julie Ann
To Be AND Not To Be -- No Question about It 104 New Testament Commands by
f you thought the Ten Commandments were a handful, you better brace yourself for the commands of the New Testament (KJV) - over 1,500 in all! Oh, but don’t worry, when combined for repetition, there are only 800 (gulp). Find the entire list here, published online by Puritan Books, a collection of scanned, downloadable books and essays of hundreds of classic Christian writers and theologians – an awesome resource for serious seekers. Now, BE a sport and read them all.
74 Be’s 1. Be exceeding glad (Matthew 5:12) 2. Be reconciled to a brother (Matthew 5:24) 3. Be perfect (Matthew 5:48; 2 Cor. 13:11) 4. Be wise as serpents (Matthew 10:16) 5. Be harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16) 6. Be ready for Christ’s coming (Matthew 24:44; Luke 12:40) 7. Be content with your wages (Luke 3:14) 8. Be merciful as God (Luke 6:36)
"Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them. ... Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching." John 14:21, 23 9. Be like faithful servants (Luke 12:36) 10. Be thankful (Col. 3:15) 11. Be at peace among selves (1 Thes. 5:13) 12. Be patient toward all people (1 Thes. 5:14; 2 Tim. 2:24) 13. Be no partaker of sin (1 Tim. 5:22) 14. Be sober and hope (1 Peter 1:13) 15. Be sober and pray (1 Peter 4:7) 16. Be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, charity and patience (aged men, Titus 2:2) 17. Be sober, love husbands and children (young women, Titus 2:4) 18. Be sober minded (young men, Titus 2:6) 19. Be in behavior as becoming to saints (aged women, Titus 2:3) 20. Be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient (young women, Titus 2:5) 21. Be ready to give an answer of the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15) 22. Be of good cheer (John 16:33) 23. Be baptized (Acts 2:38) 24. Be converted (Acts 3:19) 25. Be transformed (Romans 12:2) 26. Be kind of brotherly love one to another (Romans 12:10; Ephes. 4:32) 27. Be fervent in spirit (Romans 12:11) 28. Be patient in tribulation (Romans 12:12)
29. Be given to hospitality (Romans 12:13) 30. Be afraid, if lawless (Romans 13:4) 31. Be no idolater (1 Cor. 10:7) 32. Be followers of Paul as he followed Christ (1 Cor. 11:1; Phil. 3:17) 33. Be followers of God (Ephes. 5:1) 34. Be followers of the faithful and patient (Hebrews 6:12) 35. Be children in malice (1 Cor. 14:20) 36. Be men in understanding (1 Cor. 14:20) 37. Be steadfast (1 Cor. 15:58) 38. Be unmovable (1 Cor. 15:58) 39. Be always abounding in Godâ€™s work (1 Cor. 15:58) 40. Be strong in the Lord (1 Cor. 16:13; Ephes. 6:10; 2 Tim. 2:1) 41. Be of good comfort (2 Cor. 13:11) 42. Be of one mind (Romans 12:16; 2 Cor. 13:11; Phil. 2:2; 1 Peter 3:8) 43. Be separate from the unclean (2 Cor. 6:17) 44. Be renewed in spirit (Ephes. 4:23) 45. Be angry and sin not (Ephes. 4:26) 46. Be tenderhearted one to another (Ephes. 4:32) 47. Be filled with the Spirit (Ephes. 5:18) 48. Be likeminded (Phil. 2:2) 49. Be of one accord (Phil. 2:2) 50. Be anxious for nothing (Phil. 4:6)
feature article 51. Be an example to believers in word, conversation, charity, spirit, faith and purity (1 Tim. 4:12) 52. Be a partaker of Christian sufferings (2 Tim. 1:8; cp. 1 Peter 4:1) 53. Be gentle to all people (2 Tim. 2:24) 54. Be apt to teach (2 Tim. 2:24) 55. Be instant in season, out of season (2 Tim. 4:2) 56. Be careful to maintain good works (Titus 3:8,14; cp. Matthew 5:16) 57. Be content with what you have (Hebrews 13:5) 58. Be doers of the Word (James 1:22) 59. Be afflicted and mourn (James 4:9) 60. Be patient till Christ comes (James 5:7-8) 61. Be holy in conversation (behavior) (1 Peter 1:1516) 62. Be pitiful (1 Peter 3:8) 63. Be courteous (1 Peter 3:8) 64. Be examples of the flock of God, not lord over it (1 Peter 5:3) 65. Be subject one to another (1 Peter 5:5) 66. Be clothed with humility (1 Peter 5:5) 67. Be sober (1 Peter 5:8) 68. Be vigilant (1 Peter 5:8) 69. Be mindful of prophecies and commandments (2 Peter 3:2) 70. Be diligent to be found in peace (2 Peter 3:14) 71. Be diligent to be without spot, and blameless (2 Peter 3:14) 72. Be faithful to death (Rev. 2:10) 73. Be watchful, strengthen self (Rev. 3:2) 74. Be zealous and repent (Rev. 3:19) 30 Be Not’s 1. Be not like the hypocrites in prayer (Matthew 6:5) 2. Be not like the heathen in prayer (Matthew 6:8) 3. Be not as hypocrites in fasting (Matthew 6:16) 4. Be not called “Rabbi” (Matthew 23:8) 5. Be not called “Master” (Matthew 23:9) 6. Be not afraid of man (Luke 12:4) 7. Be not of doubtful mind (Luke 12:29) 8. Be not many teachers (James 3:1) 9. Be not afraid of terror (1 Peter 3:14) 10. Be not troubled (1 Peter 3:14) 11. Be not ignorant of time with God (2 Peter 3:8; cp.
Isaiah 57:15) 12. Be not deceived: 10 classes not to inherit the kingdom (1 Cor. 6:9-10) 13. Be not conformed to world (Romans 12:2) 14. Be not slothful in business (Romans 12:11) 15. Be not conceited (Romans 12:16) 16. Be not overcome of evil (Romans 12:21) 17. Be not mere servants of men (1 Cor. 7:23) 18. Be not children in understanding (1 Cor. 14:20) 19. Be not deceived by evil companions (1 Cor. 15:33) 20. Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers (2 Cor. 6:14-15) 21. Be not entangled again with keeping the law (Galatians 5:1) 22. Be not deceived: man will reap what he sows (Galatians 6:7-8) 23. Be not partakers with sinners (Ephes. 5:7) 24. Be not unwise about God’s will (Ephes. 5:17) 25. Be not drunk with wine (Ephes. 5:18) 26. Be not weary in well doing (2 Thes. 3:13) 27. Be not ashamed of God (2 Tim. 1:8) 28. Be not slothful (Hebrews 6:12) 29. Be not forgetful of strangers (Hebrews 13:2) 30. Be not carried about with different strange doctrines (Hebrews 13:9)
"In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome..." I John 5:3
N N Bored Yet?
By Donna Lee Schillinger
The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside!” or “I will be murdered in the streets!”
GGGG GGGG G G G G
atching a little more TV in these colder months? Would you like to do something a little more exciting? Before you answer, consider this: Most toddlers learn to say “no” before they say “yes.” They seem to prefer using the word “no” even after they learn to say “yes” (maybe because it’s the word they hear said to them most often). I tried not to use “no” extensively in teaching and disciplining my daughter but she certainly preferred “no” as well. I called it her “default no.” It fell so quickly and easily off her lips. Toddlers grow out of that “no” stage, but in many ways, we retain a “default no” attitude throughout life – some of us more than others. “No” thinking seems to be natural, and like many other aspects of our humanity, it’s something we have to overcome with the marvelous conscious thought with which God has blessed us. Just as we can use positive thinking as a tool to lead a joyful life and reach our full po-
tential, we can use negative thinking to get us out of a lot of things we just don’t want to do. A couple of weeks ago, I went hiking with a group from our church. The short trail had a lot of interesting rock formations and they begged to be climbed. They were big, lumpy rocks that were easy enough to scale. Everyone was climbing – even our little lapdog we had brought with us! I was about to go up to join my daughter and husband at the top when a young lady offered to keep my dog for me while I climbed. I asked why she wasn’t going to climb and she responded that her sister-in-law’s sister had just had a climbing accident in which she had shattered her ankle. “I don’t want to end up like that,” she said. She was using negative thinking as an excuse not to engage in life. As a former Peace Corps volunteer, I hear a lot of stories like that. If I’m talking to someone and it comes out that I was in the Peace Corps, very often the response is, “Oh, I always wanted to do something like that,” followed by some usually nonreason why they failed to engage in life. It takes a healthy measure of self-esteem to try something like the Peace Corps or shimmying up a rock formation. It also takes a
from the proverbs
desire to overcome inertia! Often, we don’t lack the self-esteem, we just lack the steam. It’s so much easier to sit in a low-risk environment and be entertained. But the only thing we develop in front of a television is a mind full of plots, jokes and trivia. We don’t make friends in front of a TV. We don’t develop character in front of a TV; we aren’t about the work of our Heavenly Father in front of a TV. How much time do you spend in front of a TV? That’s the same amount of time you’re missing out on other things in life that pay much richer dividends than a big win in Trivial Pursuit. Can’t think of anything to do besides watch TV? How about a book? Reading is entertainment too, but it engages your mind in action in a way TV doesn’t and it builds your vocabulary. Switching a book for the boob tube a few nights a week is easy enough, but how about trying getting involved in something with other people in exchange for one or two nights a week of TV? If you do a little digging, you’ll be amazed to learn of the myriad of things you can become involved in – whatever your level of ability or mobility and even in small communities and without spending a dime. Engaging
– becoming involved in life – makes living a lot more enjoyable. So the next time you receive a decent proposition to do something that requires more than blinking, try saying “Yes!”
Hold this thought: I'm going to stop making excuses, get off my lazy butt and do something interesting in life.
An Election Year
Managing Dual Citizenship: Kingdom and Nation by
Nathaniel P. Scott
y Bible tells me my citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). My birth certificate makes me a citizen of the United States of America. How can we bring harmony to this “dual citizenship”? Simple: we must honor God in our responsibilities to our earthly government. But that is not so simple… this issue has been a point of contention for many Christians in many eras. I believe that errant ideas, teachings and movements on this subject have been a major stumbling block for “evangelical Christianity” in the last several generations, have led to much hypocrisy, and hindered our ability to demonstrate the gospel of Christ. I suggest we reconsider our goals in our participation in government in light of our responsibilities before God as taught in the New Testament, primarily in the following two passages. Romans 13:1-7: Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive
condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also
pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. 1 Timothy 2:1-4 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. The teaching in these two passages can be summarized by two commands: • Be in subjection to authorities • Pray for authorities These commands are motivated by four goals: • Avoid wrath • Keep a clear conscience • Lead a tranquil and quiet life • Live in godliness and dignity Note first of all that there is no command in either of these passages for the Christian to vote or even to participate in his government. This is doubtlessly because when these passages were written, governments were rarely set up to encourage participation (as has been the case in many times and places throughout history and across the world). However, in a number of countries today, Christians have the special privilege of being involved in the authority structures, the governments of their countries. This involvement is not a Christian duty, but is an opportunity that many Christians eagerly volunteer for when they register to vote, when they support a campaign or when they protest the actions of their governments. Do you participate in your earthly government in these or in other ways? If so, what are your goals? Think very carefully here: are the goals that you set for this extra-biblical arena consistent with the responsibilities God has given you? Unfortunately, history generally shows that when Christians ascend to power in the government, our God-given goals fall by the wayside. Our often
unconscious attempts to bring heaven on earth result in the following anti-biblical goals: • Bring wrath on those who do not conform to our conscience • Lead a power-driven and meddlesome life • Force others artificially into our religion and moral structures Our motives are often pure: we despise sin as God does, we want to protect the innocence of our children, and we grieve when we see others reaping the consequences of their sinful behavior. And we are especially concerned at the aggressive ways in which the legal systems are manipulated and ungodly behaviors are pushed into our governments, our societies, our neighborhoods and our homes. So we borrow the tactics of those we oppose. We manipulate the legal systems. The entire premise of the Moral Majority of the ‘80s and its unofficial continuation into the present is a reaction to the secular activism that has waged an all-out war on any Christian foundation of our culture. Unfortunately, this Christian movement has oft forgotten that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). Having God’s truth, as one author put it recently, “we put secular powers in charge of spiritual wars.” The “culture war” will not be won by threatening imprisonment to everyone who disagrees with us. It will not be won by banning the desires of sinful hearts. It will not be won by making Christianity the unofficial religion of our country. We often try to justify these tactics by the argument that we are not making up our own rules for people’s lives, but enforcing God’s absolute definitions of right and wrong. I would agree that God’s definitions of right and wrong are absolute, but definitions don’t change men’s hearts. Not even God’s Laws change men’s hearts. God’s Spirit changes hearts. The epistle to the Romans makes it clear that keeping laws, even God’s Laws, cannot save us. The more laws we have, the more our rebellious hearts will break them. But “what the Law could
An Election Year not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin…” (Romans 8:3-4). For this fundamental reason, there is absolutely not the slightest precedent in the scripture for a “Christian government.” Many point to the Old Testament Law and the strict standards of morality that were enforced. But if you read the history in the Old Testament you find these strict standards did very little to ensure godliness in the nation of Israel. Even with God’s holy laws, they quickly slipped into forms of idolatry, wickedness, and immorality that make our sinful society look tame. If God’s Laws did nothing to change sinful hearts and “save the culture,” why do we think that our laws will do any better? Our culture can only be saved through the propitiatory work of Jesus Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of men. This is the age-old conflict between Law and Grace, and the actions of many Christians involved in politics fall on the wrong side of the argument. This is a dangerous mistake to make for a number of reasons: 1. History shows us that when Christians attempt to change or save their culture through the strong arm of the law, that eventually other Christians become victims of this power-grabbing meddling. Those godly believers who don’t fit in with this utopian culture defined by their “Christian” rulers have been burnt at the stake, imprisoned for preaching without a license, forced to flee their homelands and experienced countless other government-imposed tragedies. Galatians 5:13-15
warns, “If you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.” If we set the stage for forcing our views on other people, it is only a matter of time before someone will be forcing their views on us, and often in the name of “Christianity.” 2. No human deserves this kind of power. Even if you can find a man that can be trusted with authority over other men’s consciences and lives, you are only paving the way for another man to take his place—one who cannot be trusted. “Christian” dictators will be followed by godless tyrants. 3. Using the law to enforce the dictates of our consciences on others puts us in grave danger of violating the Golden Rule (Luke 6:27-36). Through most of the world and most of church history, Christians have been the minority in their societies. This is again becoming the case, even in countries once dominated by “Christians.” The way we choose to treat the Muslims and the secularists who intimidate us by their attempts to subjugate us to their worldviews may soon be the way they treat us. If we wage legislative warfare against them, we make them hungry for our power so that they can turn the tables on us. If you panic and pursue a blatantly unbiblical “final solution,” killing everyone who may be a threat, then you had better not leave even one dissident alive… or else. The proper application of the Golden Rule is to defend equal liberty under the law for all, even for those with whom you disagree. Perhaps one
day they will return the favor and defend your liberty. So if these mistaken tactics are inconsistent with the gospel of grace in Christ Jesus, then what should our participation look like to further our God-given goals? Once again, the principles are simple: Avoid Wrath: We should labor to prevent the government from prohibiting things that are necessary for our obedience to God. Keep a Clear Conscience: We should labor to prevent the government from mandating things that would force us to violate our consciences. Achieving the above will help us to avoid a “we must obey God rather than men” scenario (Acts 5:29). Lead a Tranquil and Quiet Life: We should labor to promote justice for all, thereby protecting ourselves and others from all who would do evil against us. Live in Godliness and Dignity: We should labor for the freedom and simplicity to live out our faith without accusations of false or self-serving motives. We cannot show up on someone’s doorstep with the gospel of God’s forgiveness of sins, and threaten to show up the next day with the cops. It is true our society is in bad shape. It is true that laws have been enacted and are being enacted that are damaging to the cause of Christ. We want to see people changed, to see society become more godly.
The solution is not more laws, but rather a revival that can only come through the Holy Spirit’s work. I don’t believe in a values-neutral society, but let us not confuse government with society. Neither let us confuse our civil government with the Kingdom of God. Jesus didn’t come to save our culture, our society. He “came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am foremost” (1 Timothy 1:15). The best laws in the world can’t do what Jesus has done, and is doing. So keep them out of the way, relegate the government to the basics of justice: defending the life, liberty and property of its citizens. Then “go into all the world and preach the gospel” (Mark 16:15).
Nathaniel Scott is looking for a heavenly country while currently residing in Tulsa, Okla., where he works as an electrical engineer. As a husband of less than 5 years, a father of less than 3 boys, and a writer who only exercises his craft during alignments of the planets Time and Motivation, he is decidedly an expert on nothing. He wishes he could better reconcile his youthful idealism with the harsh realities of boring adult life, but is supremely delighted when he sees believers living in the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
Fa s hion DIV in A
Problem with Prom by Donna Lee Schillinger
he problem with prom, which reflects a problem with public education in general, is that it underscores the disparity between the Haves and Have Nots. “The poor you will always have with you,” Jesus said, rather matter-of-factly (Matt 26:11). But when we’re talking about young people who haven’t had an opportunity to impact whether they will always be among the poor, things like prom seem to call attention to the reality that they were born into, or otherwise became part of, the Have Nots. Meanwhile, the Haves – in this case, those who can actually spare $50 on a tuxedo rental or dress (at a thrift store, if need be), to say nothing of the prom tickets, corsage, hair, nails, etc. – are preparing for the best night of their young lives thus far. Dreams come true! It’s easy enough to categorically say, “Aw, that’s too bad; life’s not fair,” but much harder to do when you know the names of those young men and women who can’t afford prom, and you see how they struggle in school, how they work hard at part-time jobs to help their families. It’s almost enough to make a girl want to boycott prom… but not quite enough. And
so the show must go on. (No comment.) Fortunately, this inequity has been met with a compassionate response in many communities around the country and there are options for young men and women who want to experience prom, but cannot afford it. Below are links to lists of local initiatives for receiving a donation of gently used formal wear, which will be more beneficial to young women than men. (It would have been a more difficult assignment to research this for a young men’s magazine, since most tuxes are rented, not purchased.) If you’re in need of some help to make your prom dream come true and there is not a program linked below in your area, first of all, consider a part-time job if you don’t have one. It’s too late for this year, but holiday season jobs are generally easier to find and you could save some of the money earned for prom. An especially smart job in this case would be one at a retailer that sells formal wear, where you might even be eligible for a discount and certainly in the best position to find the real bargain in prom wear. If you’re already using part-time income just to make ends meet, talk to your high school guidance counselor who may know of local school, church or charity-based initiatives that can help. Approach your pastor’s wife, youth leader and other church mentors to ask if they can help you borrow a dress. They may have a young woman in their extended family who would loan a dress to you. In general, I don’t recommend renting a prom dress. Most rentals are of very expensive dresses and you could probably buy two or more inexpensive dresses (see links below) for the cost of wearing a rented dress for one night. If you’re not in need of help – if God has placed you in a family that can actually afford to buy you a new dress for prom – consider helping at least one other go too. Do you have a dress from a wedding or other formal occasion you attended in the past that could be worn by someone in need? My daughter was homecoming maid her freshman year, but now in her junior year, can’t fathom wearing the same dress to prom that she wore two years ago as homecoming maid. But to her credit, she did announce that she has decided to loan that dress to a friend at school who doesn’t have the means to buy a dress for prom. If everyone who had two loaned or gave one away, there would probably be plenty to go around. (Hmm, that sounds like some crazy, locust-
eating guy I read about who once said, “She who has two prom dresses should share with her who has none” (Luke 3:11, ok, a bit of a paraphrase). This could be a great quasi-evangelistic project for your Christian student club or youth group. Alternately, church families that oppose prom on moral grounds should one-up the high school and offer on the very night of prom an even more spectacular experience – but less formal –celebrating purity, for instance – and be sure to issue invitations to those who cannot participate in prom for lack of funds. This year, make the problem with prom an opportunity for your compassion for others to shine through.
DonateMyDress.org: Large database of dress donation/giveaway sites nationwide with options in most states. Becca’s Closet: A national nonprofit organization that donates formal dresses to high school girls who are unable to afford to purchase them. Becca’s Closet also awards scholarships to deserving high school students. Chapters in most states. The CinderellaProject lists 16 programs (which may or may not be included elsewhere). Local Initiatives: Arlington, VA: http://www.facebook.com/ events/327353039030/ Austin, Dallas, San Antonio: http://www. promshopproject.com/shop/ Dallas (includes tuxes): http://www.dallascouncil. org/buzzfreeprom/?page_id=77 Houston – annual give-away is April 7, 2012: http:// devinepromproject.org/HowToRecieveAGown.aspx San Francisco, Silicon Valley, San Diego: http:// princessproject.org/get-a-dress/locations/ Finally, if no gently used dresses are available at all, a good online shop for inexpensive promappropriate dresses is Deb. And (ignoring all the other content on the site!) I recommend Seventeen. com for a gallery of prom dresses under $100. Visit the online stores where you can purchase these dresses and you’ll find scads more options for inexpensive prom dresses.
A good set of Lenses
Guest Columnist Thomas Mollohan
One of the things that fascinated my chil-
dren when they were much younger was my eyeglasses. They would grab my metal frames, sometimes nearly taking off one of my ears with them, and then put them onto their own faces to try them on for size. “What’s the deal with these, Dad?” they seemed to be asking. They would clumsily slide them onto their faces, poking themselves in the eye as often as not., While trying to fit the earpieces over their ears, they wound up getting them tangled in their hair. Then, when they finally succeeded (with a little help from their father), they would take a look at the world around them through my lenses. Because my eyeglasses were prescription lenses designed for my particular eye problem—nearsightedness with astigmatism—they naturally could not see very
well through my glasses. Yet, they thought it was fun to look at the odd things they could see with them. The lenses would bend the light rays passing through in such a way that, to my children’s eyes, the people and things around them were distorted into strange and bewildering shapes. Of course, it only took a little while of looking through my glasses to make them laugh. I imagine that if they had continued to look through them for too long, however, their giddiness would turn into nausea and leave them feeling like they had gone a few times too many on an amusement park ride. I am glad to say that we never came to that unhappy conclusion, at least not with my glasses. I find that a lot of people are a lot like my kids were with my lenses. Not that people are
settling In lining up to try on my glasses (that would be awkward), but folks like to try on different perspectives. In some ways that’s not a bad thing. It’s great to try to look at things from the point of view of another person, in order that we might appreciate their unique insights, or obtain an understanding of them that cultivates compassion within us. On the other hand, it can be a dreadful thing for us to take upon ourselves a perspective which entices us to live a life which isn’t prescribed for us by the One who created us! Before a person comes to Christ, he or she has such an acute spiritual nearsightedness that they are effectively rendered blind. Such a person cannot genuinely see life, neither the temporal world of the here and now, nor the eternal one that awaits him after this physical life is over. But when a person comes to faith in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, blindness begins to melt away and a new set of glasses are prescribed for that child of God! In other words, as Christians, we are given true sight, which is a perspective that is not bound to the mere circumstantial evidence of what our physical eyes perceive, nor the erroneous conclusions our mortal minds reach. We are permitted through His Word to see reality as it truly is, which is neither a selfgratifying denial of the evils of the world, nor the gloom and despair of hopelessness. With this new set of glasses, we can see through the eyes of faith the hand of God moving in and through our lives! Spiritually speaking, as we permit the Holy Spirit of God to open our minds, our eyesight gets better and better, as we become more and more accustomed to using the prescription lenses of the Bible. How strange then, if we try to slip them off and replace them with the old glasses we once wore, or those that someone else wears who hasn’t yet been healed of their spiritual
blindness! An occasion which finds us trying out or trusting a perspective that is alien to the promises of God may give us a momentary feeling of giddiness but ultimately will make us
spiritually sick! What about you? What glasses are on your face right now? By whose perspective are you living life? Is it a perspective being influenced by the common assumptions of society? Is it a philosophy that is built upon human wisdom? Does it puff up your ego? Does it deny your God-given worth? Is it something others share but which stands in stark contrast to the Word of God? Is it something you’ve put together from your limited experiences which you’ve decided just feels right? Be careful! Wearing the wrong lenses can damage your vision. The lenses through which you view life will dramatically affect the way you spend your life! Not only does your eternal life depend on it, but also the fruitfulness of your life that may lead others to a future forever with God. Get into God’s Word! Prayerfully turn your heart and mind over to His inspiration as He speaks to you through the Bible! Let Him make changing your mind an ongoing process—not that you flip back and forth from one conclusion to another—but that you allow Him to lead you further into His life-changing truth. By doing so, even those things you think you know will become new as He applies His principles into new areas of your mind, heart and actions! “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:1-2).
Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 16 years and is the author of The Fairy Tale Parables. He is the pastor of Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just What You
few nights ago I sat in a restaurant with a group of friends. After we ate, we spent some time updating our Facebook statuses, showing off a cool new photo app, playing Words with Friends and sharing photos of cute dogs. Much like my friends and me, it seems that anyone who has one is attached to their smartphone and all the cool things these electronic marvels can do. They have become integrated into nearly every minute of our daily lives. There’s nothing inherently wrong with our affection to these phones; in fact, they can actually come in quite handy. They can make our lives easier in a variety of ways, including saving us tons of money if we can find actually useful apps to assist.
Need features, but in general they allow you to set a budget per category and then track your expenditures. Specific features can include photo tracking, the ability to add notes, the ability to roll over excess funds into the next month, and online backup or exporting into a PDF or spreadsheet. You might even find this helpful when tax time rolls around. If you don’t track your budget, this might be a good option to use to get started. If you find yourself incurring late fees for tardy bills, then you should consider downloading a bill pay reminder app. You can opt for a general reminder app (and use it for meetings, birthdays, appointments, etc., as well) or you can download an app specific to bill paying. There are even a few apps that combine budget tracking and bill reminders.
Actually Useful Apps
Coupon Apps You can save yourself the hassle and potential paper cuts of clipping coupons by downloading coupon apps. Typically these apps will either pinpoint your location and show you available coupons within your close proximity or allow you to search a database of retailers and/or products. Sometimes you may have to print the coupon on paper, but others will allow you to download the coupon to a loyalty card. Some of these apps will even track how much you have saved by using coupons.
Price Comparison Apps Some of the most-used apps on my personal phone are price comparison apps. Usually these apps will allow you to scan a product’s bar code (or search by product name) and it will give you the price for the same item at other stores in the area or online. When purchasing higher dollar items, such as electronics, this can be especially helpful. No more running from store to store, wasting precious gasoline, to find the best price on an item! Speaking of precious gasoline, my other favorite price comparison app, GasBuddy, allows me to search for gas stations within the proximity of my location for the cheapest price. This is especially helpful when I’m in an unfamiliar location and am unsure of the stations with the best prices.
Budget Tracking and Bill Reminders Budget tracking apps vary greatly as far as specific
Entertainment, Fitness, Fun Can’t afford that personal trainer or gym membership? There are plenty of apps that will motivate you to do 100 push-ups, log the miles and times for your latest run, or track your daily caloric intake. Do you like to read? Download a free e-reader app (such as Amazon’s Kindle app) and then download free book titles or check out e-books from your local library. Planning a trip or are already on the road? There are apps that search out the lowest airfare, help you learn the basics of a foreign language, find free Wi-Fi access, recommend local cuisine based on price, or in a foreign country convert your currency. And of course, there is always Angry Birds for all your entertainment needs. Most of these apps are free but some may cost you a couple of bucks. If they are free, download and give them a trial run. If you have to shell out some cash for the app, be sure to read reviews from other users and remember that even though you are paying for the app, it may save you money in the long run. If you are unsure where to begin, browse your phone’s app store or run an Internet search for the “top free” apps for your desired category. This said, don’t let your phone become your best friend. Keep it in perspective – it’s an electronic! And at some point, we all need to turn off those phones and just enjoy dinner with our friends.