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I am a facebook addict.  I admit it.  I have tried to walk away, but then I find myself thinking in facebook status sentences.  Here’s the problem with being a facebook junkie.  Romans 12:2 says…”Don’t be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  Uh, Oh!  If I spend my day thinking in status lines, isn’t that conforming?  I think I might need a support group!

But, let’s turn this into a positive.  How can we, as those striving to be the Christians described in Titus 2, use facebook for the glory of God?  Romans 12 goes on to say in verses 9-13 …“Be kindly affectionate one to another in brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the LORD; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.” Well, that’s a pretty big chunk of scripture!  Let’s pause for a moment and reflect on how we can use facebook to follow this description of a Christian.

Be kindly affectionate one to another, in brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another… So, many times I see other believers forgetting the simple act of kindness and what it can mean to someone else.  The world of facebook opens up so many chances for people to see the brotherly love of the church, but are you sharing that love?  When you comment on the status of a brother or sister in Christ, is it with love?  We forget that in a typed out cyber conversation, our tone doesn’t always come across as we mean it.  An inside joke may appear as an insult.  I am certainly guilty of this one.

Not lagging in diligence…do you put off giving an encouraging word in order to check on your crops in the latest game?  Yep, been there!  And more often than not, you forget to give that encouragement at all.

Fervent in spirit… Are you eager to share the news of salvation?  Or is it more important to whine about the line at the checkout?

Rejoicing in hope…So many times, I let my doubt get the better of me and I don’t truly rejoice in the hope of others.  Or, because I don’t want my email to become overwhelmed with notifications from facebook, I simply won’t comment.  I think I should be more liberal with my “like” button.

Patient in tribulation…Ouch!  This one isn’t always easy for me.  I tend to follow my dad’s advice when it comes to tribulation.  He would say “Scratch your mad place and get over it.”  And while it can be good advice, sometimes it is better to accept the things we cannot change and move on to something we do have control over, when dealing with other believers we should have more patience to help them through there trials.  Continuing steadfastly in prayer — instead of wanting to kick them in the rump in order to help them get over it.

Distributing to the needs of the saints…I see so many prayer requests and needs posted on facebook.  Are you doing your best to help out?  What needs do you see?  Does someone need a babysitter?  A ride to the store?  A couple bucks for groceries until pay day?

We are in an age of amazing technology!  We joke about how shows like “Back to the Future” and “The Jetsons” were so far off…but yet they are so close.  We may not have flying cars, but we can use our phones (which are no longer painfully slow rotary dial devices attached to the wall with a 2′ cord) to post a status on the internet for ALL to see in only a couple of minutes (or seconds).  Is our faith making use of this technology?

My challenge for you is to take your faith to facebook!  In your head, change it to faithbook.  Post Bible verses, lyrics to your favorite Christian songs, poetry that has challenged your faith.  Share your testimony, as well as your prayer requests.  Maybe, your status will be the only Bible some of your friends ever read.  Shouldn’t we be making the most of this opportunity?  Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep! (Romans 12:15)  This is your chance to be a missionary.

God has been so amazingly good to me.  Whenever something comes along to test my faith, HE provides a song, a sermon, a Bible study, or a devotion that points me back to the right path.  Most recently, God used James 1:2-4 to remind me of one of the reasons that we, as Christians, face trials.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of any kind, knowing that the trying of your faith works patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you might be perfect and complete, wanting nothing.”

Trials are a chance to grow patience.  And when patience has a chance to work in us, we grow.  We become perfect and complete, wanting nothing.  I don’t know about you, but I want to be perfect!  Now, I long ago figured out that I would never be perfect on my own.  But, when I allow God to work through me, I can become perfect.   That is encouraging to me.  God has a reason for allowing me to go through this trial.  It is to make me perfect.  I can be joyful because whatever trial I am going through, God has allowed to grow me into His perfect princess.

My new goal is to be more joyful.  Specifically, to find joy in my trials.  To take a step back and find joy in watching God work.  Turning my life over to His big capable hands.  He is always faithful.  To put this into action, I have started a praise notebook.  At least one day per week, I spend all of my personal prayer time being thankful.  And I write down what I am thankful for.  Sometimes its just a list, sometimes it is word for word as I pray.  The hard part is not adding all of my wants and needs to this prayer.  This  is just a time to tell God how thankful I am for all that He has given me, all that He is doing in my life, and all that I know that He will do.  No requests, no pouring out my woes.  God knows it all already.  Just a time to be thankful!

I want to leave you with this little story from an unknown author.  You have probably heard it before, but I think that is beautifully illustrates the point of joyfully enduring our trials.

The Tea Cup

There was a couple who used to go to England to shop in the beautiful stores. They both liked antiques and pottery and especially teacups. This was their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.

One day in this beautiful shop they saw a beautiful teacup.They said, “May we see that? We’ve never seen one quite so beautiful.”

As the lady handed it to them, suddenly the teacup spoke. “You don’t understand,” it said. “I haven’t always been a teacup.

There was a time when I was red and I was clay. My master took me and rolled me and patted me over and over and I yelled out, “let me alone”, but he only smiled, “Not yet.”

“Then I was placed on a spinning wheel,” the teacup said, “and suddenly I was spun around and around and around.Stop it! I’m getting dizzy! I screamed. But the master only nodded and said, ‘Not yet.’

Then he put me in the oven. I never felt such heat. I wondered why he wanted to burn me, and I yelled and knocked at the door. I could see him through the opening and I could read his lips as He shook his head, ‘Not yet.’

Finally the door opened, he put me on the shelf, and I began to cool. ‘There, that’s better,’ I said. And he brushed and painted me all over. The fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag. ‘Stop it, stop it!’ I cried. He only nodded, ‘Not yet.’

Then suddenly he put me back into the oven, not like the first one. This was twice as hot and I knew I would suffocate. I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I cried. All the time I could see him through the opening nodding his head saying, ‘Not yet.’

Then I knew there wasn’t any hope. I would never make it. I was ready to give up. But the door opened and he took me out and placed me on the shelf. One hour later he handed me a mirror and said, ‘Look at yourself.And I did. I said, ‘That’s not me; that couldn’t be me. It’s beautiful. I’m beautiful.’

‘I want you to remember, then,’ he said, ‘I know it hurts to be rolled and patted, but if I had left you alone, you’d have dried up.

I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled. I knew it hurt and was hot and disagreeable in the oven, but if I hadn’t put you there, you would have cracked.

I know the fumes were bad when I brushed and painted you all over, but if I hadn’t done that, you never would have hardened; you would not have had any color in your life. And if I hadn’t put you back in that second oven,you wouldn’t survive for very long because the hardness would not have held. Now you are a finished product. You are what I had in mind when I first began with you.