In these dark, chaotic, unsettling times, I am trying to keep my eyes laser-focused on JESUS, the Author and Finisher of my faith.
"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2
These are dark days, and if I take my eyes off Him, even for a little bit, I will start sinking. Just like Peter. When Jesus bade Peter come to Him on the water, Peter actually walked on water - like Jesus was doing. But, Peter took his eyes off Jesus, saw the waves crashing around him, started to panic, and began to go down in defeat. Thank God, Jesus was right there to grab Peter by the hand and pull him back up to safety. I am SO thankful He does that for me, too, every time I start to sink in despair. I never sink in despair when I am keeping my eyes on Him! What a powerful, life-transforming truth!
One of the ways I am forcing myself to keep my eyes on Jesus is that I have completely minimized mainstream media from my life.
Here are my reasons:
#1. I just do not feel the need to know every single thing going on in this world. Call me selfish, but I choose to focus on my world. All glory to Jesus, I have the sweetest, dearest husband and son in the whole world, and they are second only to Him in my life. I cherish every second the three of us can be together, and next only to God, they are my priority. I refuse to allow what is going on in the rest of the world to mar or put a damper on our world and the precious time God gives us together.
#2. I am a sojourner here.
"This world is not my home, I'm just a passing through, my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue..." written by Albert E. Brumley.
When our dear Lord prayed to His Father in heaven, He said this concerning His disciples, "And now come I to Thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them Thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." John 17:13-14
Did you catch that? Jesus was not of this world. His original disciples were not of this world. And, we, His current disciples, are not of this world, either. There is to be a clear line of demarcation between us and the dark world around us. As long as we stay in our lane, our priorities will stay straight.
#3. The joy of the Lord is my strength. (Nehemiah 8:10) If I lose my joy, I lose my strength. I can't afford to do that. My family needs me to remain joyful. The wife and mother set the tone for the home and that truth is ever before me. In the above-mentioned passage (John 17:13-14), Jesus said, "that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves." How can our hearts be full of joy when we continually, incessantly fill our minds with negativity, fear, and chaos? No, thank you.
#4. I refuse to allow the "prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2) to hold more influence over me, my mind, my emotions, and my heart than the Prince of Peace. "The power of the air" brings television, internet, phone service, radio, etc. into our lives. Much of it is controlled by "the prince of this world" (John 12:31), our arch-enemy, satan himself. The mainstream media is full of corruption and liars and fear-mongers - like vultures, they will do and say anything for a sensational story and elevated views and ratings, all driven by a lust for power and insatiable greed. They are given a daily agenda (by people I do not want controlling my mind, believe me), and all of them follow it in lock-step fashion, spewing out propaganda, lies, and deceit in order to manipulate thought patterns and inject their own ulterior motives. Did you ever notice that no matter what channel you flip to, the same basic message is being propagated? I refuse to sit and feed on and digest what satan is dishing out. Again, no, thank you. The Prince of Peace will control my thinking and pour in "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding" and keep my heart and mind "through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7) as I continually yield to His dominance and control of my time, what I watch, what I listen to, and what I ponder on. Thank You, Jesus!
#5. I admired my Papaw. He was born in 1900 and died in 1979 and was one of the godliest, praying men I have ever known. He never had a TV or the internet, and his mind was pretty much continually on God's Word, studying it, memorizing it, digging deep into it, and allowing it to permeate everything about his life. I am so abundantly blessed to have some of the sermon notes produced by his countless hours with Jesus. In Papaw's day, he had limited access to what was going on in the world, which enabled his generation to be present in the here and now and what was happening in front of them. How blessed they were! What if by shutting it all out, we lived the same way? Just because it is 2022, I don't have to buy into modern distractions or allow the pressures of the world to derail me from living with Papaw's mindset. It's my choice! How liberating!
#6. Me knowing about every atrocity that is taking place does not fix the atrocity. Being clear across the world and unable to help remediate suffering only frustrates me and tears up my nerves. If watching the news would help my brothers and sisters in some way, then, of course, by all means, I would do it solely for that purpose. The reality is, my knowledge about every other human's distress does nothing to help ~ them or me. So, I will not allow things I cannot fix to enter and dwell in my mind. It is far too heavy and completely robs my peace for zero purpose. The only thing I can control is myself (through the power of the Holy Spirit's indwelling work within me.) I cannot control one other person, one other world event, one other thing at all. If World War III breaks out, (has it already?) then so be it. If a nuclear bomb catches our world on fire, then so be it. (I often wonder if that is what Peter meant in 2 Peter 3:10? "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.") Nuclear bombs may or may not be launched, but what are we afraid of? Our outcome is secure. Is it not? Are we not children of the living God? Haven't we all read the back of the book? God wins!!! So, do we! Jesus is coming soon!!! Can I just tell you how much joy that brings to me? As the signs of His coming become more and more pronounced, my heart rejoices within me because I know we are one step closer to that glorious day!! We get to spend eternity forever sheltered in the loving arms of Jesus! Whether He takes us there through death or His 2nd coming, our destination is the same. I don't need the constant threats of what might happen in the meantime and all the "what ifs?" invading my world and infiltrating my peace-filled time here on earth with my precious family. It is well with my soul. That is all that will matter in the end.
#7. Philippians 4:8 is my goal. "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Very little that is spewed in the mainstream media is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, or of good report. I have even seen evidence of how they are using old photos and misleading viewers to think the images are of current events, etc. So, again, no, thank you. People say, "You just don't know what to believe." Yes, you do! God's Word is the only absolute we have, and yes, my friend, it IS absolute! If you want some good news, open your Bible! The Gospel never changes and is always "the good news!" Jesus is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and every word out of His mouth is a good report, so I choose to listen to His voice, keep my mind laser-focused on Him, and continually yield to His influence. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee." Isaiah 26:3
Note: Sometimes our loved ones and family members may not be on board with our decisions and convictions. "No harm, no foul."
"One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind." Romans 14:5
We all have to "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling." Philippians 2:12
Do what God shows you to do in a spirit of love, not judgment. Walk the path the Holy Spirit dictates and show the same quality of abundant grace that God has so lavishly bestowed on you to those who make other choices. It is not necessary to make a megaphone announcement or shame others. It is better to simply and quietly leave the room. Keep the peace while minding God.
"Resist and Replace!"
In spite of all I do to erect safeguards and keep the bad stuff out of my life and mind, we all know the enemy comes in like a flood without any help, anyway. Though Papaw and his generation didn't have the constant technological bombardment of negativity we have to deal with, his generation had the same devil to contend with and their own unique battles. Same enemy, different tactics. The truths they implemented will still work for us today. I have come up with a "resist and replace" method that I implement on a regular basis when I am dealing with negative thinking.
First, I submit myself anew to God. "Submit yourselves therefore to God." James 4:7
Next, I verbally resist the devil out loud. "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7
Next, I replace whatever negative junk he is trying to inject into my peaceful world with something that falls into at least one of the "true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and good report" categories. Such as when I am trying to go to sleep at night - that is when he tries very hard to get me all upset and in turmoil. When he comes, I am ready. I am armed. My arsenal is prepared ahead of time. The weapon I most often pull out in times like that is a song that God repeatedly brings to my mind. I start "singing it" in my mind, and soon I have drifted off to peaceful slumber. If the world outside blows up or falls apart while I am resting, I will be ushered immediately into His presence, and that is the best outcome possible. I also often quote Scripture - that puts the enemy on the run every time and immediately. Praise God for His Word and songs in the night!
"God my maker, who giveth songs in the night." Job 35:10
YouTube Channels that Inspire Me
When it comes to resisting the negative, depressing news of our times and replacing it with something beautiful, I want to share some edifying channels I have found that I turn to in "free" time instead of flipping on the taboo mainstream media.
Before I share the links, let me just say that the criteria I require in my personal YouTube "Subscribe to" litmus test is pretty specific and stringent. I believe God will hold each one of us accountable as to how we stewarded the time allotment He gave us on this earth, and I do not want to waste one moment of the precious hours He allows me to live each day.
"Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time." Colossians 4:5
A channel's content must be able to check off the right "yes" or "no" following boxes to earn my click on the "subscribe" button ~
1. Would I rush to turn off the channel if Jesus walked into the room?
2. Does the channel include content that I would be ashamed to watch with my husband and son?
3. Is the channel content spiritually edifying according to Ephesians 4:29 standards? "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."
4. Is profanity or vulgar talk/phrases used on the channel? "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. Ephesians 5:3-4
5. Is it comprised of information that will influence me to be a Godly "keeper at home" according to Titus 2:3-5 standards? "The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."
6. Does the content motivate me to "guide my house" according to 1 Timothy 5:14 standards? "I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully."
7. How do I feel after watching an episode? Depressed or uplifted?
And, one more disclaimer before I proceed - I have not watched every episode on these channels. In fact, I have watched very few on some of them. Nor can I say what the content creators will do in the future or whether or not they will change their views. We are living in the last days, and so many are doing that and falling away from Godly standards. I place my confidence in no human. I am just saying that I have really enjoyed the episodes I have watched on these channels, so far, and they have motivated, inspired, and encouraged me as a woman who absolutely loves being a wife, mother, and homemaker and strives with all my heart to please God, model Proverbs 31, and be the absolute best "keeper at home" and "guide of the house" I can possibly be.
So, with all that being said, here is that list.
I just love the Amish and Mennonites' lifestyle! Though I am neither of those, I love their simple way of life, the way they guard against the invasion of worldliness into their homes, their modesty of dress, and their work ethics. Thankfully, there are now several of these types of channels I enjoy. Here are some I'd like to share with you, and I hope you will check them out!
4. Valerie Keim
5. Kim Martin
If there are other Amish or Mennonite channels you enjoy that are not mentioned, will you please leave them in the comments below? I would love to check them out when I have time.
The following are not Amish or Mennonite, but other channels I enjoy (in no particular order):
10. The Flylady
12. Freedom Sprout
13. Old World Home
20. Cooper Stuff
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God bless each of you and keep your hearts encouraged in these perilous times.