Saturday, April 20, 2013

Garbage In – Garbage Out

Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. – Proverbs 4:23
We have a saying in the computer software business, “Garbage in – Garbage Out”.  It means that if your data is faulty, fixing your software won’t correct it.  A bad price on an item is going to produce a bad sales invoice, one with an incorrect price.  A bad inventory stock level is going to give trouble when you go to sell stock you don’t really have.  If you don’t put good stuff in, true stuff, then you can’t expect the end product to be good.
Our lives are just like these computer software systems.  Daily we take in stuff, some truth, some garbage, and daily we give output in either what we say or what we do.  But it’s still garbage in – garbage out!  When dealing with this on a computer system the issue is never the data itself, but the source of the data.  If you’re getting bad prices from a vendor, you stop dealing with the vendor or get them to deliver true prices.  If you’re getting incorrect inventory levels, you determine why your inventory isn’t what it should be, and you fix that problem.  It’s a matter of controlling what comes in to perfect what goes out. 
Friends, what I say next may offend you.  You might want to pray first.   I’m not telling anyone this to offend you, and most likely not telling you something you don’t already know.  But if God brings it to me, I deliver it.  Talk to Him about it if it bothers you.  He has your personal answers.
If we want to perfect our lives, we have to control our input devices, our ears and eyes.  What comes through these portals from our environment controls what goes into our hearts.  And from our hearts spring forth all our troubles!  It is the CPU of the soul, controlling our emotions, our attitudes, and our actions.  Proverbs 4:23 says “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”  If you want to deal with less ‘issues’ in life, you must deal with the inputs to your heart.
If you want to watch television shows that are aimed at selling violence (C.S.I., Murder for Hire, The Walking Dead, Sons of Anarchy, Criminal Minds, The Sopranos, etc…), then expect evil and violent thoughts to come to your mind.  Expect bad dreams, angry expressions, and even violent actions!  You don’t plant turnips and expect to grow apples! 
If you want to watch reality shows that sell drama (The Kardashians, Jersey Shore, The Young and The Restless, Teenage Mom, The Bachelor, etc…) expect to start thinking like the characters on that show.  Are you judging people based on the things you’ve seen?  Is your moral level falling to that of what has been made acceptable by these Hollywood script writers?  Drama, drama, drama!  If you want peace in your life, don’t open the door to bring in the drama of the outside world.  Close it!
Television isn’t to blame for all our evil input, but it plays a big part.  How about the music we listen to?  Parents, I encourage you and applaud you if you will do this one thing:  Get your child’s iPod or IPhone or whatever they store music on, and listen to the music they are listening to.   How about those lyrics?  Is that the message you want your child hearing?  Check yourself and your music as well.  Lyrics in music enter our minds much differently than spoken words or written words.  Music has a psychological effect on your mood and behavior.  For this reason, they should be monitored much more closely than books or television.
Take a look at where our society is at today.  A man walks into a Colorado Springs theater with a gun and kills 12 people.  When authorities enter his apartment, they found a poster on his closet door of the movie “Soldiers of Misfortune”.  His entire apartment was rigged with explosives to kill whoever entered it.  How do you suspect evil entered this young man’s heart? 
A young man enters Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, carrying four guns, and kills 27 people, 20 of which were elementary children.  The Huffington Post reports him to have been a recluse who played violent video games”.  Friends, the violence did not start with the gun in this young man’s hand, but the evil in his heart.
Seung-Hui Cho, a senior at Virginia Tech, kills 32 people and wounds 17 others.  As a middle school student he had once written that he wanted to “repeat Columbine”.  His parents did nothing.  He was socially awkward, and authorities at the school spoke to the parents about getting him treatment.   Two years prior to the shooting, his mother had sought the help from a church, who met with Seung-Hui and told her that her son was under spiritual demonic powers and needed deliverance.  But before the church could talk to the family, he started school at Virginia Tech.  There he repeatedly listened to “Shine” by Collective Soul.  The chorus of the song repeats “Oh - Heaven, let your light shine down”, and talks about how to find love.  This young man needed deliverance, needed Jesus, but his parents sent him off to college without Him.  He had a heart condition.
Violence does not start in the hand with a gun, it starts in the heart.  Remove the gun, and you’ll find it replaced with a knife, a sword, an ax, or any other deadly weapon.  But change the heart, and you’ll remove the violent thoughts and actions. 
Take a deeper look at our society.  Our issues aren’t simply with our violent natures. 
We have adults hooked on drugs to the point they cannot raise their own children. 
We have teens who self-harm, are depressed, and commit suicide. 
We have divorce rates at such a high level that marriage only seems seasonal, like a national sport. 
We have grandparents raising their grandchildren because young people were not ready for the responsibility of raising a child. 
We have people spending their entire paychecks to buy lottery tickets with the hope of becoming rich.
We have millions who would rather draw a check than work for an honest wage, and feel entitled to the check, which has been part of their lifestyle for generations. 
We are in personal debt to our eyeballs while trying to meet the standards of the “American Dream”. 
Out of our lives are springing ‘issues’, things God never intended us to deal with.  What’s missing from our lives?  It’s not a defect of our nutritional system (Mark 7:18-20), our health care system, or our educational system.  It’s a defect of the heart!  And yes, it is a defect in our churches because we have failed in teaching our members how to deal with the garbage that our society wants to input into our lives!
Even before the flood, it was a heart issue that destroyed the earth.  Genesis 6:5 says the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his HEART was only evil continually.” It was the thoughts of the HEART that had gone evil.  We do so much to protect ourselves, arming ourselves and our homes with weapons to fight any evil that enters, alarm systems, and buying health insurance and home insurance plans for all sorts of bad things to come.  But we don’t monitor the evil that enters through the eyes and ears.  We bring it into our homes as we quietly click the remote, insert the ear buds of our iPod, and flip on the video game.  It comes in quietly, while we’re not watching and standing guard, as a thief in the night.
In Deuteronomy 11:18-19 God instructed us to “lay up these words of mine in your HEART and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your EYES [an input to the heart]. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”   We want to protect our children.  We start at an early age teaching them about strangers, and how to protect themselves from germs, and things that can harm them physically.  But we fail when we teach them how to protect their hearts. 
Jesus teaches us in Matthew 5:8 about keeping our hearts pure, which can only be done if we keep the garbage out.  He says Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Purity of heart starts with the heart transplant, given a new heart when you are saved (Ezekiel 36:26).  But to be purified by God, you must transform your mind, which begins with the heart. In Romans 12:1-2 Paul tells us that we are to present our bodies (including our eyes and ears), as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  And do not be conformed to this 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.  Transform your mind by filtering what goes through your input devices, your eyes and ears and you will transform your heart, from which flow all your actions, behaviors, and attitudes.  If you want a better life - a life with less ‘issues’ - stop letting the garbage in.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” – Psalms 51:10

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