C.H. Spurgeon

Sinners, let me address you with words of life; Jesus wants nothing from you, nothing whatsoever, nothing done, nothing felt; he gives both work and feeling. Ragged, penniless, just as you are, lost, forsaken, desolate, with no good feelings, and no good hopes, still Jesus comes to you, and in these words of pity he addresses you, "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."

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Friday, January 07, 2011

Do Your Social Network Friends Really Matter?

According to an article on FoxNews.com, a lady died from apparent suicide sometime after posting her actions – Christmas Day – on her Facebook status.

The article declares: Simone Back, 42, had 1,048 Facebook “friends,” none of whom came to her rescue or alerted authorities of her suicidal post that read, "Took all my pills be dead soon bye bye everyone."

It also states: [she] received responses calling her a “liar,” “she OD’s all the time and she lies” and saying the fatal overdose was “her choice,” The Telegraph reports.

And adds: Some out-of-town friends did respond wanting to help, requesting her address and telephone number to no avail. Not one of Back’s friends checked in on her.

This is a very sad story. Any suicide or death of an individual should never be seen as a light thing, because that individual has crossed over into eternity. At this point, their relationship in Jesus Christ matters the most, even though they have surely likewise left weary hearts inside family and friends.

But, this brings up questions regarding Facebook, along with other social networks, and how we allow them to take part in our daily lives. How much is too much? Are we spending more of our lives gossiping over the internet with cyber friends, in place of actually spending time with persons face-to-face?

Take for instance, the “friends” list on Facebook. I personally have 300+ “friends” made up of family, friends I grew up with, church members, coworkers, persons I know and have known, along with others I have merely met online through numerous blogs, forums, etc. Within this list, I most likely only converse with a small number of them regularly in person or on Facebook, and do not even attempt to read the 300+ statuses, updates, etc. which happen daily – or even hourly. I just don’t have that much time, or the desire to do so. Sorry Facebook friends!

With that said, along with the numerous TMI and OMG (ha!) postings on just my Facebook Wall, I can somewhat understand how a status could go unnoticed (even a plea for help) by on-line “friends” (regardless how many) or even Facebook personnel. It is also practical to realize that many times we easily dismiss things, because the person is “known” to “cry wolf” or crave attention. This may not totally remove responsibility from us to seek help for those who may need it, but at the same time it does not place the blame on us and remove all the responsibility from the individual doing so either.

I mean, if we can dismiss the soul hurting we may see each day at work, in our homes, at church, or driving along our way, what makes us think we will pay more attention to our cyber relationships? How easy is it to click “Like” or write a quick comment “Praying for you” – but do we really mean it? Are social networks even used as a means to help one another emotionally and spiritually, to truly build better friendships and communication with those we care about? Or, do they merely make us focus more attention on ourselves, and the curiosity of knowing everybody else’s business – with a stand-off type of responsibility, leaving us with no commitment to intervene with hurting hearts and the needs of others?

Is it better to have 1,048 social network friends, or 1 who really cares? And, if we claim to be someone’s friend, what are we doing to make the relationship so? Are we simple appeasing our conscience, yet searing it at the same time?

Proverbs 17:17a, A friend loveth at all times…

Proverbs 18:24, A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest

So, I haven't forgotten my Resolutions for 2011, but have simply added another short-term goal; at least for the month of January.

Here is an opportunity for anyone to submit an unpublished or self-published novel between 50,000 and 150,000 words (of their own writing) in the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, for a chance to win one of two $15,000 publishing contracts with Penguin USA and distribution of their novel on Amazon.com.

How to Enter:
The submission period begins January 24, 2011 at 12:01 a.m. (U.S. Eastern Standard Time) and ends February 6, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. (U.S. Eastern Standard Time). The young adult fiction category and the general fiction category are each limited to 5,000 Entries, and we will stop accepting Entries for a category after we have received 5,000 Entries in that category.

Sadly, there isn't enough time for me to finish and submit my latest work, entitled Kristietiba, as I am currently only about midway through writing it. But, I have been slowly reediting and putting together the trilogy of Ekleipsis, Daegsteorra, and Andeis into one book entitle Land of Erde. Perhaps I will be able to complete and submit this work. I at least hope to.

Do you have a novel you have been working on? Give it a go! You've got a month to prepare and submit it. What have you lost?

John Bunyan

To be saved is to be preserved in the faith to the end. 'He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.' (Mt. 24:13) Not that perseverance is an accident in Christianity, or a thing performed by human industry; they that are saved 'are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation.' (1 Pet. 1: 3-6) But perseverance is absolutely necessary to the complete saving of the soul…. He that goeth to sea with a purpose to arrive at Spain, cannot arrive there if he be drowned by the way; wherefore perseverance is absolutely necessary to the saving of the soul.