Why Snapchat is deadly.

I hate Snapchat. (plus I also hate selfies but that’s another story)

Don’t get me wrong it can be used responsibly and for fun; but the negatives far outweigh the positives.

Snapchat allows you to send pictures to friends which will be shown to just them for a predetermined amount of time and then supposedly disappear forever. The problem is that it may not disappear forever. You can screenshot the picture (which alerts the sender, but its too late to do anything about it. & there are ways of hacking the app so that no screenshot notification is made) and its been discovered that these pictures can be recovered.

So how is this fun app deadly?

Bullying is done across all social media but Snapchat makes it that much easier. You can send a hateful message, they see it but it disappears before anyone else can see it or save it. So it’s like it never happened, no evidence.

There are cases of attempted suicide from bullying in the UK.:

  • A 12 year-old tried to commit suicide over bullying from Snapchat.
  • A 14 year-old was bullied by others on Snapchat, and tried to commit suicide

Although it is reported that it isn’t used primarily for sexting and the like, it has created the perfect platform for it. You can send a picture to one person, which is shown for a short period of time and then is gone “forever”.

This is the part that is the most dangerous in my opinion. I met a high school student, at work, who claimed to have over 30 nude pictures of different people from her school. This isn’t something that only happens here or there, its happening all around us. There are so many cases of bullying and suicide from this sort of behaviour. All it takes is one compromising picture of someone that is spread to a few other people to light a wild fire. It can even come back years later to create issues, as it did in the Amanda Todd case.

Here are 3 cases of suicides because of social media and pictures.

Thankfully the Government of Canada has become more aware and have launched the ‘stop hating online‘ campaign. Their wesbite is here. There have even been child pornography charges laid to teenagers who have these pictures. This can lead to them being put on the child sex predator list for the rest of their lives. There are severe consequences for the possession and spreading of what is in all actuality child pornography, but they don’t see it like that.

While I think Snapchat is terrible, I acknowledge that there are bigger issues at play. I just think Snapchat is providing a simple platform for the sharing of potentially deadly pictures.

In all your social media and communications just one thing: Be Safe.

Made Alive!

Ephesians 2:1-10

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Made Alive – Citizens Lyrics

I once was dead in sin alone and hopeless
A child of wrath I walked condemned in darkness
But Your mercy brought new life and in Your love and kindness
Raised me up with Christ and made me righteous

Chorus:
You have bought me back with the riches of
Your amazing grace and relentless love
I’m made alive forever with You, life forever
By Your grace I’m saved, by Your grace I’m saved

Lord, You are the light that broke the darkness
You satisfy my soul when I am heartless
If ever I forget my true identity
Show me who I am and help me to believe

Chorus:
You have bought me back with the riches of
Your amazing grace and relentless love
I’m made alive forever with You, life forever
By Your grace I’m saved, by Your grace I’m saved

My sin has been erased, I’ll never be the same
My sin has been erased, I’ll never be the same

Chorus:
You have bought me back with the riches of
Your amazing grace and relentless love
I’m made alive forever with You, life forever
By Your grace I’m saved, by Your grace I’m saved

Ruth: Her Decision

And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more. (Ruth 1:15-18, ESV)

After Naomi’s husband and sons die she decides to return to Bethlehem, her home, with her daughter-in-laws.  But Naomi, realizing the situation,  told her daughter-in-laws not to come back with her because she had nothing to offer them, she had no more sons for them to marry and could not support them either. After they said their goodbyes Orpah left and went back to Moab; but Ruth didn’t. Instead she clung to her. (Ruth 1:14)

Here we see Ruth make a decision. This is her confession of faith. This is her decision to turn from the false gods of Moab and trust in the God of Naomi. Your God, My God”. This statement goes back to the covenant that God made with his people the Israelites: “I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the Lord your God,” (Exodus 6:7)

Ruth decided to put her faith in God.

Today making a decision is still just as important.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, ESV)

We are all sinners, which makes us positionally not right with God because God cannot have sin in his presence. Sin has separated us from God. (Isaiah 59:2) This is why God sent his son Jesus Christ to the earth, so that he would pay for sins, the perfect for the imperfect, so that we can be brought to God. (1 Peter 3:18)

Is Jesus Christ your Saviour? Everyone who trusts in Him will be saved. (Romans 10:9; Romans 10:13)

And remember He saves you in 3 ways:

Capture 1

Ruth: All the Men are Dead

In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years, and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband. (Ruth 1:1-5, ESV)

We are introduced to Naomi’s immediate family in this section. The meanings of their names are in parentheses.

  • Elimelech (My God is King); the father of the familyCapture
  • Naomi (Pleasant); the mother of the family
  • Mahlon (Sickness); a son of Elimelech & Naomi
  • Ruth (Friend); wife of Mahlon, from Moab
  • Chilion (Declining); a son of Elimelech & Naomi
  •  Orpah (Fawn); wife of Chilion, from Moab

In this section we see Elimelech moving his family away from Bethlehem because of a famine in Bethlehem (which means the ‘House of Bread’). In the Bible God often used famines as a means of judgement to warn, correct or punish the people. So Elimelech rather than looking into why God would send a famine decided that he would leave Bethlehem and go to Moab where there was food. It’s rather ironic the a man with the name meaning ‘My God is King’ leaves the ‘House of Bread’ because of a famine and doesn’t appear to consider why there even was a famine in the first place.

As the patriarch of the family and its leader he decides to take his family into Moab. Moab was anywhere from 30-60 miles away and may have taken 7-10 days to travel to because of the rugged terrain. It was a fairly significant move from Bethlehem. The beginnings of Moab take place in Genesis 19. Lot and his 2 daughters are living in a cave outside of Zoar because he is afraid. The 2 daughters are worried that they will not have any children, so they devise a plan to get their father drunk and sleep with him in order that they can have children. Out of that incestuous relationship Moab is born. In Moab there was the worshiping of false Gods such as Chemosh the fish god (it could also mean destroyer or subduer; but I like fish god). There is evidence in 2 Kings 3 that human sacrifices were offered to Chemosh as well. As well in Psalm 108 God refers to Moab as his washbasin.

We see a progression in this section: they sojourned, they remained and then they lived in Moab. It started out as what would seem to be a temporary thing that soon escalated into a permanent one. This is a practical aspect for us; we can tamper with sin, and before we know it we live in it. We can get so comfortable in our sin and then all of the sudden were living in it. So take from this story an example of what not to do.

The next step in this move is that Mahlon & Chilion, the two sons, start going out with Moabite women and then they get married. Which is of course no surprise. Marrying Moabites was not something that Israelites were supposed to do and so another practical lesson we can learn is that where you make your life is often where your children will make theirs. If it is in sin; theirs likely will be too. The father’s influence on the family is tremendous, often what the father values are what the children value. Elimelech seems to have died before the boys were married so Elimelech may not have been able to tell them that what they were doing was a bad idea. They would’ve been looking at their father’s actions as a guide to what they should do; sometimes its our actions that are the most influential.

All the men die. It’s rather ironic that they left Bethlehem because they were afraid of dying and then they all die. This reminds me of the first part of Romans 6:23; ‘the wages of sin is death.’ That’s the result of sin every time; there doesn’t always seem to be immediate consequences but in the long run it always leads to death.

So after 10 or so years in Moab the only part of the family that is left is Naomi and her two daughter-in-laws, Ruth and Orpah. There doesn’t appear to be any children in the picture either. So the tenure in Moab resulted in 2 Moabites entering into the family and all the men are dead.

The story of Jesus’ Great⁴³ Grandmother

Ruth is the 8th book of the Bible and through the next few weeks I’m going to work through the the book of Ruth. This will serve as an introduction to provide some background to the story of Ruth.

Ruth is the story of a foreign woman who came out of paganism and idolatry of Moab into the knowledge of the Lord God of Israel and was blessed.

The story of Ruth takes place “in the time of the Judges.” (Ruth 1:1) The story of the Judges “follow a consistent pattern: the people are unfaithful to God and he therefore delivers them into the hands of their enemies; the people repent and entreat God for mercy, which he sends in the form of a leader or champion (a “judge”); the judge delivers the Israelites from oppression and they prosper, but soon they fall again into unfaithfulness and the cycle is repeated.” (Wikipedia)

Ruth is described as a classic love story, a masterpiece of the storyteller’s art and German poet Goethe called it the ‘finest poem in human language. Legend has it that the story of Ruth was read to a group of atheistic, bible bashing, cultured Frenchmen. The names were altered so that it wouldn’t be instantly recognizable. After listening the group of men were delighted by the wonderful literary product and they wanted to know it’s origins. They were in shock when they learned it was from the Bible.

The author of Ruth isn’t known, though Jewish tradition as well as others believe it was Samuel that wrote it. It was written 150-180 years after the events took place. In Ruth 4:7 it talks about “former customs” which distances the events from the writing date. The genealogy that concludes this book ends with David, so it is reasonable to presume that he was the King when the book was written. The exact date isn’t known but it was likely written between 1010BC – 970BC.

We don’t know why it was written but it may have been written for King David. Ruth was David’s great-grandmother. This story was probably very special to David because of the connection with Ruth and the display of God’s grace towards her.

Among others there are 2 main reasons why Ruth is important to us today: The first is the genealogy that is provided. We have a genealogy of Ruth’s legacy that leads to King David and ultimately Jesus Christ. (Seen in Ruth 4:18-22Matthew 1) We also see the connection between the House of David(2 Samuel 7:12-13; Isaiah 9:7) and the Tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10) (Boaz is from the tribe of Judah) and without Ruth we wouldn’t see this connection. The second reason is that Ruth is an excellent display of redemption and we can learn about redemption through this story. Charles Spurgeon referred to the Lord Jesus Christ as “our glorious Boaz” and we will take a look at that comparison when we get to chapter 4.

So through the next 12 weeks or so I will hope to paint a picture of the story of Ruth and provide some practical aspects as well.

Minimalism.

While minimalism may refer to a simplistic life style, much like that of Mohandas Gandhi; minimalism mainly refers to a concept in the arts.

Minimalism is a style that is characterized by spareness and simplicity in design elements.

There’s something about minimalism that I am drawn toward. I don’t appreciate eclectic art the way I appreciate minimalistic art and I’m not sure if there’s a psychological reason for this.

I think it comes down to the fact I don’t like overcrowding.

When I go to class I like to sit with empty seats around me or at the end of the row. I used to think I may be claustrophobic but I think it’s just a preference; and it overflows into other aspects of my life, mainly those which involve some design elements. I format all my work into the most minimalistic designs as possible; all my powerpoints are done with a minimalistic approach; even my whiteboard is organized in a minimalistic way. All done to avoid overcrowding.

If you want to see some sweet minimialist movie posters check this out. As well below is an example of minimalistic art.

Shoot by Kenneth Noland, 1964

 

Are the chairs too comfortable?

Sometimes it seems that they are. It’s so easy to just stay seated in our comfortable position.

During the worship service and times of prayer at my church I sometimes find myself just as content to stay comfortably in my chair. But why? Well for starters:

  • I’m young; there are older ones who should be more responsible
  • I’m young; so nobody expects much anyways
  • I know other people will take part; so they can do it

And sometimes the reality is I was asleep through the whole thing.

This can be reflective of our lives as Christians. We make up excuses and aren’t responsible for our duties; and some just sleep through the whole thing.

Why? Because the chairs are too comfortable.

It’s so easy to sit back and let others do the work and while they are supposed to be doing the work we sit there and make up excuses as to why we can’t do it and rationalize our complacent behaviour.

“The world needs Christians who don’t tolerate the complacency of their own lives.” ― Francis Chan, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God

In 1 Thessalonians 5 Paul says this: “So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.” (1 Thessalonians 5:6, ESV)

We’re not called to be disengaged and be passive; we’re called to be active and awake. Maybe for some of us we need to take this literally and actually wake up in our Christian lives (and church services)

Are the chairs in your life too comfortable?

Jesus taught that: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26-27, ESV)

“Following Jesus will cost you something. Following Jesus always costs something.” ― Kyle Idleman, Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus

In conclusion, we are called to follow Jesus, which just might cost you your comfortable chair; in fact it will cost you your comfortable chair.

Image

(This is the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean; got up at 5am to see this. some sacrifice but so worth it.)