A Christians guide to the internet

Sharing Online

So far most of the posts in this series have been about avoiding pitfalls on the internet and learning what it actually is. I thought I would move onto something else in this post and that is how we can use the internet as Christians to share, to learn, to connect and deepen our walk with the Lord.

This week I want to share a few ways you can share Christ and your life with Him. We have talked about practicing discernment in what to share in a previous post, so what sites are there available for us to share on?

The most well-known sites are the social networking ones, these are sites like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, etc. there are many more but these are biggest and most popular right now.
Facebook and Google+ are sites where you have a profile that you can choose what to put on, you can share about yourself, where you work, your education and photos, and also you can go on there and update your profile as many times as you want with a ‘status update’ which will show up in your friends (Facebook) or circles (Google+) newsfeed. You can make your profiles private so only those you accept as friends or into your circles can see them or you can make them all public, or you can do both when you write a status or share a photo you can pick the option of who can see it.

Some ideas of what you can share on these sites are:
Events from church, or publicise anything that is happening in your area and or church. You can share your testimony, both in status updates and or in the info about you on the profiles and you can share photos or pictures. You can share the Bible and any links to other sites that share Christ or have good information on them that you feel would be useful to others. I am sure there are many other things you can share also, it all depends on you and what parts of your life you want to share. Or whether you just want to share the gospel on its own.

Twitter is slightly different as it is basically just status updates, you only get so many characters to say what you wish to and once again you can share this with the public or just those that follow you.
It’s a good site for publicising charities and events and sharing quotes etc. I know people who use it for bible studies and sharing the gospel which is wonderful but be aware that the characters are limited and can very easily take things out of context which can cause confusion.

Instagram is a popular photo sharing site that is just on your phone. This is good for sharing photos of your life and you can write a decent amount under your photo as well, it can be a good place to share the gospel and your testimony and life with Jesus.

If this is something that interests you I would recommend praying about it first. And when thinking about which site suits you best ask yourself, how much time do you have to spend on this? What exactly do you want to share? Some people prefer to not have any information about themselves and just share the gospel, some people want to share about their relationship with Jesus which includes sharing about themselves also.

It can be tempting to jump in on them all but, over the years I have found it is best to concentrate on one or two sites so you have time to actually take notice of the people you share with, some of them may be real life friends and family some of them you might not know that well but it is nice to actually connect with people and show them the love and care of Jesus, don’t just share, but read what others are sharing about their lives, do they need comfort? Do they need prayer? Remember they are human and Jesus died for them also. I feel you get more out of the experience if you don’t just see it as something you go on, share something then switch off, how we treat others online is just as important how we treat them off.  Just because there will be a lot of people who aren’t authentic with what they share and say doesn’t mean we need to follow suit or avoid putting ourselves out there.

I have made some wonderful friends online, not all Christians but all of who I care about deeply, I pray for them and I check in on them if I haven’t heard anything for a while, and they do so for me. I may never have met them but that doesn’t stop me from caring. And when I came to Jesus He gave me more love and compassion for those people and put more into my life whom I care about very much. I am someone with a long term chronic illness who has spent many years unable to get out and meet people and for people like me meeting genuine, caring people on the internet has helped me a lot.  The internet has meant I have been able to connect with family I haven’t been able to see and find out what is happening in their lives, pray for them and with them and, as I can’t get to church often the same goes for my spiritual family as well.

The Lord has put people in my life who have been a great blessing to me so don’t forget to ask Him to guide you and bring others into your life that you can connect with. If you pray this and mean it, He will bless you for it. We live in a fallen world, which is reflected online and, even if those you talk to reject the gospel outright that doesn’t mean we should stop caring about them because God never does.

I hope this series has been of some use and do feel free to share it with anyone you feel may find it useful. ALswo if there is anything else you would like me to talk about just leave a comment.

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Lessons from Motherhood · My Faith

Thankful

I was chasing Little S around to put on his jumper before we left the house, he was not happy with me and protested vigorously.  Finally I was able to distract him and get it on, after many tears once it was on he tearfully and quietly said ‘thankyou Mummy’. I smiled and gave him a hug and said ‘thats ok, sweetheart’.

Gratitude is something that has been on my mind recently, its something that has been bought up in my fellowship group also.

In the Bible it says in 1 Thessalonians 16:18:

16Rejoice evermore. 17Pray without ceasing. 18In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 

It is Gods will for us to give thanks in everything, whether pleasant or not. Little S thanks me and others a lot, weather its because we’ve given him a drink, an ice-cream and sometimes when I’ve done something that’s good for him even if he didn’t want it at the time.

In life we go through different seasons, somethings are just rubbishy and we don’t feel very grateful, but the word doesn’t say we should feel grateful, it says we should give thanks and that’s a different thing entirely. Jesus understands our pain and suffering and He does not enjoy it when we do suffer. However sometimes things are good for us even when we don’t want it. And God is always good, even during those times.

For me, gratitude isn’t an automatic thing but I’ve been thinking about ways I can be grateful and try to look for things to be grateful for, remembering that its the giving of thanks that we are commanded to do. Sometimes it helps to even write things down, then we can revisit when things get tough. We are not to be religious about it we don’t need to force anything, we can ask the Holy Spirit to show us and help us have a grateful heart towards Him. Anything that requires us to lean on Him, is a good thing.

I pray I can be like Little S and give thanks even when I feel grumpy and I am very grateful to The Lord for my little boy and the lessons I learn from being his mum. And the fact that he says thank you!

What are you grateful for? Give thanks to God today and remember His goodness in all things.

Lessons from Motherhood · Uncategorized

My Refuge

7 weeks ago the Lord blessed us again with another baby boy, our hearts are full and our home is complete with this little soul. It has been a very different experience than with little S but my love for little A is just as much, he is a very expressive baby and he has bought us all such joy.

One thing I am finding a bit harder this time is that I am unable to hold him as much as I did little S, I hardly put little S down but, this time I have a toddler to look after as well. However, I hold him as much as I can. Like little S he prefers to be in my arms and sleeps so much more soundly there. He doesn’t like being away from me right now as even though he is only a few weeks old, he knows who I am and that I love him deeply. He knows in mine (and his dads) arms is the best place to be as we provide his food, his comfort, his warmth, we hold him close and keep him safe. We are his entire world and he desires to be held by us. He can’t see us clearly but he knows we are there and that we are the ones who provide for him.

This is how it should be with Jesus, we are His children, He is our source of spiritual food, He is our comfort, Our peace, our safety  and He loves us deeply. He is the one who holds us close and loves to have us in His arms more so than I love to have my babies in mine. Go to Him, He is waiting to embrace you and hold you close.

For I both lay down in peace and sleep, for you, Lord, only makest me dwell in peace. Psalm 4:8

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I drew this one night when Little A had fallen asleep on me as I mediated on this blog post.

Lessons from Motherhood · My Faith

Temptation

Being a Mum has taught me a lot about my walk with the Lord, it has shined a light on many things I do that I had no idea that I was doing.

Little S is now a full on running about, into everything toddler, we have found ourselves moving things higher and higher until even we can’t reach it.

We have a cupboard that had DVDs in it, once little S realised how to open the cupboard he was finding it loads of fun to pull them out, take of the covers and run around with them. So obviously I had to tell him to stop, a few times but eventually he got the picture. One day I watched him slowly move over to the cupboard, open it, and stand in front of the DVDs jumping up and down and getting upset because he knew he couldn’t touch them. I was right behind him telling him it was OK and showing him all his toys that he could play with but he wouldn’t acknowledge me. He got himself in such a state that I decided to move them elsewhere and put his toys in the cupboard instead.

It made me think… How many times have I been faced with temptation and refused to look around to my father who is waiting to help me?

The word says: 1 Corinthians 10:13 – There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].

I was right behind little S ready to help him he was surrounded by his toys all of which he was allowed to have but he still stood in front of the DVDs getting very stressed. How many times has my Father been waiting to help me? How many times have I forgotten all the wonderful gifts and joys knowing Him has brought me because I was so focused on something that I shouldn’t have or do, something that would cause me harm. Forgetting all I had to do was turn to Him?

I ultimately ended up moving the DVDs and I know there are times that The Lord has removed something from my life that was interfering with my relationship with Him and if we do fall The Lord is so gracious and merciful as:

Lessons from Motherhood · My Faith

Treasure

Little S has a small money box where he puts his pocket money from his Mama. He has learned that if you give him a coin, to wait until you get his money box and then he will put in into the slot.

The other day he found my purse and in it where some coins, he sat and waited so I let him put some into his money box, he turned it over and discovered that he can open it, take them out and put them back in, which was a very fun game. While he was doing this he found a note in there which he pulled out, examined then threw it behind him.

This got me thinking. Because little S doesn’t understand money yet he had no idea that the note was worth more than the 20ps he was taking out and putting back, but they where shiny and more interesting to look at, so, in his mind, they must be more important of his attention. I have been thinking about all the things that I am drawn to in life, things that take me away from the more valuable time I should be spending with Jesus. Unlike Little S I should know better, but I still find myself logging into Facebook or putting on the TV instead of going to my Bible.

In Gods word it says:

19Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Matthew 13:44-46

It may be shiny and endearing and even make me feel a bit better in that moment, but it does not last, unlike the peace and joy of knowing Jesus. The Lord has promised so much to those of us that accept Him as their savior and that should be where my focus is, that should be my treasure, He should be what I desire more than anything.

It is hard, because I am a Mum and I am very tired, and when I get a moment I do tend to fall asleep. But I think  thinking about him, focusing on Him in daily life is seeking Him above all else. At the moment I have been guilty of focusing on problems, meetings, housework, crafts, social media, news events, my weight and what I eat. God  desires a deep relationship that involves all aspects of life, I can talk to him no matter where I am or what I am doing I can read and meditate on His word one verse at a time and its OK if I forget what I have read in the brain fog of changing nappies and dealing with tantrums. He understands that I have to deal with Little S, I have to cook meals etc but its where I point my heart that matters, that’s where my treasure lies and, like Little S’s notes that treasure is worth so much more that what I do focus on.

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Christian growth · Uncategorized

Pacing

I have recently started going out jogging with a friend, she is a lot better than me as I am just a beginner. I never realised how satisfying it is to run and I am enjoying it a lot but I am finding that I can’t go as fast or as often as I want to. But I do not want to give up and I am learning a lot about what it means to persevere and pace myself.

I have found out than when you run you have to set a pace and to me it feels like I am going too slow at first but I have quickly learned (the hard way) that if I start off too fast then I can’t keep it up so I have to start at what feels like a slow pace as, as I go on it does not stay feeling like a slow pace. If I start off too fast I run out of steam and wear myself out.

In Hebrews 12:1 it says:

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Here Paul is drawing a comparison between our walk with the Lord and a race and He says we are to do three things, lay aside our weight and our sin and run patiently. When I am running I think of this as I realise that I am in this for the long haul and if I don’t want to burn out I have to pace myself like I do when I am out jogging. Sometimes that feels like I am not doing enough but when it comes to a busier time then I realise that it was wise not to take on any more as I wouldn’t be able to do it all when life gets hard, or I get ill or when I have more things I need to do. And I am finding I need to be more patient at the slower times when my pace feels too slow more so than when it is ‘faster’, just like when I am out jogging.

There is only one way to be successful at this and that is explained in the next verse:

“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

Whether my pace seems slow or fast I need to always look to Jesus, remember who He is and what He did and He is the one who will get me through.

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A Christians guide to the internet

Search Engines

There are a lot of search engines about, the most popular one is Google so its best to always start there. Another reason to start there is that when someone creates a website they have to register it with search engines and Google has the most sites registered to it. Google also owns some of the largest sites on the internet now such as YouTube and blogger (so do not worry if you have a blog on there, Google knows it’s there you don’t have to do anything)

I thought I would share a few facts on search engines then I will give some tips on how to use it effectively.
1. Search engines cannot search the whole internet, they only have access to less then 10%, one reason is because sites have to register with them to be found but also because a large part of the internet is behind a or is private so search engines cannot go there. If you wish to know more this site has some good information: http://netforbeginners.about.com/cs/secondaryweb1/a/secondaryweb.htm

2. When you put your search term and click search what happens is that the search engine sends out data packages called spiders to crawl the network to find the information you are looking for. They then bring that information back and index it according to how relevant it is for your search. This site shows a good overview of what happens when you use Google to search the internet. Google: How search works

3 Different search engines can be useful depending on what you are searching for, for example Google scholar searches for journals and papers and is useful for researching, plus there are sites dedicated to just finding jobs in certain areas and fields etc. Also when you use a site, that has a search facility that only searches their site. So without realising it you are using probably using many other search engines as you look around the internet.
Using Google

As Google is the best known and most used I will give a little advice on searching on there to get good results.
It actually does help to know a few things on using Google to help you find the site you need. When you begin a search be as specific as you can be and once you have the results look at what you have and refine your search accordingly.  For example if you are looking for a chicken recipe put in the term: chicken recipes then if you need something for a dietary requirement put that in too. So chicken recipes could become gluten free chicken recipes, you might find that gets a lot of results so you may need to refine a little more. Depending on the results you get depends on how you refine maybe you get a lot of results from a specific country so could try to put in your country. Then your search term becomes gluten free chicken recipes UK. Maybe you find a nice ingredient in a recipe, pop that ingredient into your search term and search again. As you go along you will find you get more and more specific results to what you are looking for. Eventually you should get a list of sites that are more manageable to look at.

If there is something you do not want to come up in your searches then put a minus sign before it and Google will not return with pages with that word in.

Its best to keep your search term specific as Google doesn’t read words such as ‘and’ or ‘it’ in sentences. Nor does it read punctuation. However if you wish Google to search those terms you need to put quotation marks around them.  But be aware it will search each word on its own so will come up with a huge amount of results that might not be relevant.  If you wish Google to search the whole sentence as a whole, say a title for a book then you put quotation marks at the beginning or the end of the search term. This means you can be very specific about what you wish Google to search for. This page has some good and simple tips to get the best results. Google: Basic tips on searching

I hope these tips have been some help. Searching can be quite daunting if you have never done it before and next time I will go over some safety features on Google and other sites so we don’t get any sites that we don’t wish to see. Obviously as Christians we will come across things that we might not agree with or things that might be offensive as the world sees things very different to us. But the Lord understands and sees our hearts, He knows when we are searching for something that we shouldn’t be and if we have just come across something we didn’t want to find.

According to Google there are 60 trillion web pages on the internet and we know the Lord knows every single one of them, He knows who created it and what and who is looking at them, we cannot escape Him even here and He will protect us if we ask Him. The internet can be a great tool for us to glorify Him and learn about Him if used correctly and He will guide us on here like He does in all aspects of life. We must make sure what we look at is not damaging to our fellowship with Him or leads us to sin and the temptation can be very strong, but the word says if we resist the devil he will flee so take heart as you use the internet as the Lord knows your intentions and your weaknesses and He will help you.

 

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