December 16, 2013

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”  Psalm 1:1-2

Viktor Hertz / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

I currently have 300 podcasts on my computer that I have not listened to.

I have 845 unread articles on my RSS reader.

WordPress Reader provides a constant stream of posts from the blogs I follow.

I have bookshelves in my office full of books that I intend to read.

My Bible software program has over 1,000 books that I can search by key word.

My iPod has more music on it than I can remember.

My Facebook page has the 20+ symbol beside all of my categories.

I am overwhelmed with information.  We all live in a world that is awash with news, opinions, and content.  In general, I love it.  I have lived without Google.  I have lived when there wasn’t such a thing as the internet.  I am thankful that Al Gore invented it. The speed and ease by which I can obtain an answer to a question still amazes me.

I love the fact that I can access information with a few clicks of my mouse.  I love that I can carry my entire music collection in one small device rather than cases of cassettes.  I love the fact that I can read the work of amazingly talented writers and artists that I would never have know about.  I love being able to get my news from a diversity of viewpoints.

However, the management of information has never been harder.  It is easy to fall down the rabbit hole of meaningless links.  One funny YouTube video can consume an hour exploring all the related videos on the side bar.  There is the temptation to taste all the offerings but never enough time for a full meal.  We are forced to glide over the surface of most of the available information due to the overwhelming volume.  We surf past the majority of the content since there is not enough time in the day to truly consume it.  However, it is hard to learn how to pick and choose.

It is so easy to become lost in the process of being informed.
It is so easy to walk in the counsel of worldly digital pundits.
It is so easy to silently revel in the debauchery of the famous.
It is so easy to nod along with the skeptic.

I was curious what content was most sought this last year.  So, I did a little Google-ing and this what I found:

Top Searches on Yahoo in 2013:

miley cyrus
kim kardashian
kate upton
selena gomez
obamacare (affordable care act)
amanda bynes
jodi arias
iphone 5
justin bieber

Breakout (Miley Cyrus album)

Breakout (Miley Cyrus album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Top Questions on Yahoo in 2013:
Top Who Question: “who wins the bachelor”
Top What Question: “what is twerking”
Top When Question: “when is thanksgiving”
Top Why Question: “why only 6 jurors in zimmerman trial”
Top How Question: “how to take a screenshot”

The Bachelor (US TV series)

The Bachelor (US TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Top Searches on Google in 2013:
Actor:  Miley Cyrus
Musical Artist:  Miley Cyrus
People:  Miley Cyrus
Top TV Shows:  #1The Walking Dead, #2 Breaking Bad
Scientists:  #1 Albert Einstein, #20 Richard Dawkins
Authors:  #1 Tom Clancy, #2 William Shakespeare
Books:  #1 Bible, #2 Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey produits dérivés

Fifty Shades of Grey produits dérivés (Photo credit: ActuaLitté)

I am left to wonder what counsel the majority are walking in;
what way are most people standing in;
where are the most popular seats being occupied?

Are not Miley Cyrus, the Kardashians, and Fifty Shades of Grey merely  glamorizing  the ways of sinners? Aren’t seats offered by Richard Dawkins and his like all in the amphitheater of the scoffers?  The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Grand Theft Auto revel in wickedness.  I am thankful that the Bible topped the list of books but I wonder how many who typed that search topic spend their days and nights meditating upon it.

I am reminded of my need to guard my heart.  The internet opens us to many forms of counsel, divergent norms, and normalization of deviating mores.  We all need to be careful to prevent the wave of internet content and information from replacing our time in meditation upon the word of the Lord.  I can be influenced more than I care to admit.  We are all buffeted by the changing winds of our culture and society.  We must be careful and intentional about the content that we immerse ourselves in.

I hope that my top counselor of the 2013 was the Spirit of God.

I hope that the primary way that I stood along this year was that of the righteous.

I hope that the seat I occupied most frequently was that of the one wise in the Lord.

Lel4nd / Foter.com / CC BY

I know that I did not meditate on the precise gift of God’s word like I could have.  Too often, I skimmed and perused.  We all must develop a strategy so that we will not be overwhelmed into indifference by the influences flowing onto our electronic devices throughout the day and night.  For me, this blog is one of my primary methods to help me increase my depth and duration of meditating on scripture.  I know that I am like John Piper in this regard:

I count myself as one of the number of those who learn as they write and write as they learn.
John Piper, Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God

Writing helps burrow my mind into the word.  Reading through the Bible in a year (or two) and writing blog posts of what jumps out at me has been the best way for me to discipline myself.  It has created a strategy for me to prioritize God’s Word above all the other influential content that is vying for my attention and my soul.

What helps you to keep the scripture as your delight throughout the year?

PRAYER: O Lord, you know that I delight in a lot of things.  You know that I am easily distracted from the best.  Father, thank you for the internet.  Thank you for this outlet of blogging.  Thank you for making a means for me to meditate more on your word.  Father, give me wisdom to understand where my influences are coming from.  Help me to seek You first.  Grant me a desire for You and your Word.  Make my delights conform to You.   I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

Google Trends > Top Charts
Yahoo’s Year in Review


  1. So true! 20 years ago in library school, they taught us that the glut of information is the biggest challenge to today’s librarian. I found the search statistics you quoted depressing, but the 40 likes (and now 41) encouraging. Biblegateway.com and similar websites keep me focused by allowing me to quickly find particular scriptures that are floating around in my head, and then read them in the context of the whole chapter. Though sanctification is more difficult than ever before in some respects, there are arguably more supports for it than have ever existed before. Believers need never feel isolated if they are connected online. Thanks for a great post!

    • Hey Julia – you are so correct. While there is a lot of bad stuff out there, there is more support than ever before. We just need to learn to sieve through it better.
      God Bless!

  2. JD…two thoughts:
    1. I’m new to the whole blogging thing, and the other day I inadvertently deleted you when I was trying to edit the setting in the Reader menu…I didn’t really know how to find you, cus I didn’t exactly remember the name of your blog. It was all very distressing. But thankfully you replied to a comment I had made and so I was able to “re-follow” you again : )
    2. This post, “Overwhelming Influences” really spoke to me! Focus is so hard to do these days. Thank you for the reminder to help all of us really dial into developing a strategy of focusing on His Word and being in his presence and not allowing ourselves to be somewhere else.

    • Hey Carl – I am so glad that you found me back. I appreciate your comments. I am glad that post could be used as a reminder.
      Merry Christmas

  3. Reblogged this on verawrites and commented:
    As I read this, I was deeply saddened by what is deemed important enough to invest time in. My prayer for 2014: Lord please keep me from distractions that prevent You taking First Place in everything, always. Amen.

    • Vera – thank you for the reblog.
      Merry Chrismas

  4. Amen and God bless!!!

  5. Wonderful post JD, just spoiled by your reference to Al Gore inventing the internet – it was Tim Berners-Lee http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Berners-Lee. But I shared your post with two churches anyway, because it is such valuable insight.

    • That was my attempt at sarcasm. I have not been very effective at being able to write sarcasm. You should have heard how that line sounded in my head. I should have linked to this site (http://www.snopes.com/quotes/internet.asp). That may have made it more clear. Thanks for sharing the post. I really appreciate it.
      God Bless!

  6. Excellent reflection. I too use my blog as one aspect of my formation. Great post, JD.

    • Hey Mike – Thanks for the encouragement. Keep up the good work on your blog. I always enjoy your posts.
      God Bless!

      • I appreciate that. Merry Christmas!

  7. “AMEN” to your comment that writing is a powerful form of meditating. Writing responses in a Bible study guide, keeping a journal, and hosting a devotional blog certainly help me keep my mind and spirit renewed. ‘Love that John Piper quote! (We’re in good company, aren’t we?!)

    P.S. I finally finished memorizing Romans 8. With continued review I should be able to transfer the chapter from short-term memory to long-term. Thank you, JD, for your inspiration at the beginning of 2013!

    • Nancy – that is incredibly awesome. Many congrats on memorizing Romans 8 – I know it will bear fruit for years to come. I am not doing as well on my memorizing of Romans 8…OK, I gave up when I struggled on getting over 23 verses. I think it became a mental thing:) However, you have inspired me to take another run at it in 2014.
      God Bless!

      • Oh, yes–another opportunity awaits in 2014. You’re already past the halfway point–you’ll be finished by spring!

  8. Wow. You hit the nail on the head, there. Some very good food for thought and meditation. Thank you.

    • Thanks Jeff. I appreciate the encouragement.
      God Bless

  9. Blogging about my faith allows me to connect with and keep time with Scripture too. Excellent post. God Bless!

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