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Invitation to Feast {With Guidelines for Online Time}


Everyone was rushing.

Everyone was gushing.

Everyone was talking and going and doing and I thought I had to be on the going train too.

It was the latest, coolest, most important thing.

But every time I got to the station, the train had already filled up and closed it’s doors and there wasn’t room for me.  I could see the laughter and fun and partying going on inside.

“It looks so warm in there. So necessary to really thriving.” I thought this as the train slowly passed me by.

“Everybody who’s anybody is in there,” I thought as the last car passed, leaving only the wind to brush my face.

So I tried to make the next train.

Then the next.

Until finally, with each defeated attempt, I realized. God doesn’t want me on the train tracks.

He has another path for me.

{And I have a feeling it involves hiking.}

It seems to me that many of us are spending our lives trying to make the social train, or the success train, or the have-it-all-and-quick! train… not realizing that perhaps God wants us off the tracks altogether.

Dare we hear the Lover’s voice beckon?

“So I am going to take her into the desert again; there I will win her back with words of love.” Hosea 2:14

Would we slow enough to understand that it is in the absence that God reveals Himself?

It isn’t in the bustling, moving and shaking that God woos and speaks tenderly. It’s in the deprivation.


And this week when our tables pile high and shopping bags bulge, would we sit down to a fare of broken body and atoning blood?

It’s the bread and the wine and Abraham knew it: Less can be better.

More…prosperity…abundance…nightstands piled high and inboxes overflowing…sales pitches for everything under the sun…they can send a very subtle message, deadly in its power. The more I have, the more I think I need... The more I’m convinced I don’t have.

Will I, like Abraham, be vigilant to guard my heart against subtle {and not so subtle} messages that draw me away from the simplicity and sufficiency of Christ?


 ”The whole idea of television (and I would add advertising and promoting and many other things) is to produce discontent. The goal is to make you discontent so that you think you need something you don’t have. The goal is to make you buy things. The idea is to appeal to your discontent and make you believe you need something and compel you to buy something you think you need.” John MacArthur

{And will I be honest enough to recognize that our Christian culture is just as consumer-driven as the worldly culture around us?}


“O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you?”

Just like the Galatian believers were drawn away from the pure gospel of Christ with extra “things,” I’ve found it doesn’t take a whole lot to “bewitch” me. I see an ad for some Christian bible study or a conference or a latest resource from so and so, and I’m off thinking I need it.

And just because something is good and available, doesn’t mean it is right for me. Because it can actually distract me from Christ.

Let no one tempt you away from the simplicity of Christ.

For in HIM we live and breathe and have our being.

And we are complete in Him.

So this week, my prayer for you and I: as we feast and shop, may we enter the desert place and eat the richest of fares. May we withdraw to the quiet place. May we come aside with our Lover and drink deeply of Him. May we set aside all the good stuff for the Precious. And may we be filled.


**When I started blogging a year ago, I realized the unique dangers of spending time online: being sucked into trying to build a blog or get in on all the online social stuff, etc. I realized there are so many temptations away from the simplicity of Christ! So I established some mental guidelines for when I’m online. I’ve been practicing these for some time and they have helped tremendously. {This means I am very careful about my online time, even with good, Christian sites.}

Guidelines for online time:

Ask, “What message am I coming away with?”  When you feel competition, insecurity, inadequacy, or performance/ self-reliance (and a host of others) rising up within you, this is a good indicator that you are at the wrong place for you. If what you read encourages your faith and motivates you in what you already know God has called you to do and points you back to Christ, then that’s a safe spot for you to be online.

Learn what sites incite you to fleshly reliance and pursuits and what sites spark your faith and reliance on God. Black list the first ones (yes, even if it is Facebook!)

Does this site make you a spiritual consumer or a spiritual server? Does it prompt you to go consume more Christian resources and stir a spirit of discontent? Or does it cause you to turn to your husband, child, or neighbor and wash their feet?

Coming back to these helps me make wise decisions about where I go and what I do online…and have deep peace and satisfaction about whatever trains I may miss…


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  1. Erin says:

    Very timely and needed for me. I have wanted to purge my online habits but really found that this and a blog by Noel Piper do this for me. Any other suggestions?

    • Arabah Joy says:

      Erin, it also helps me to set a time limit and when the time is up, get off. That way I only do what is necessary and helpful when I’m online :)

  2. Abby says:

    I agree, very timely. Thank you for all that you share on this blog. I’m always encouraged, and often convicted. God bless you!

  3. Starla says:

    So well said. Your blog is one that turns me to God and has me looking at my heart and where I am with God.

  4. Terri says:

    What a beautiful and gentle reminder this post was. I especially liked this part: “Would we slow enough to understand that it is in the absence that God reveals Himself?” For several years now, God has truly been working with me on the concept of slowing. What a blessing it has been! I am thankful for each and every lesson and reminder He puts in my life. And I am thankful for a more simpler life and the peace that accompanies it.

  5. Crystal says:

    Thank you for this. I have been limiting my online time and praying that God would reveal areas that I need to give up. This is something that I really struggle with. I enjoy facebook because I can share pictures with family and keep up with our women’s ministry (prayer requests and special events that I wouldn’t hear about otherwise). But then I get distracted and start reading and just end up mindlessly (or not) spending way too much time there. I find myself feeling discouraged, jealous and wallowing in self pity many days after spending time on there! I feel sorry for myself for not getting invited to this or not having the money for that and so on and so on. So, I’m not sure what the answer is. Anyways, thank you for this reminder and I’m going to continue to pray over this issue in my life… and maybe implementing your guidelines. :)

  6. Christie P in Pensacola says:

    ….so… you weren’t able to attend Relevant? (Did I read between the lines correctly?) I came to your blog wondering if you had.

    Thanks for blogging, seriously, Thank you.
    I’ve still got your Path of Life chart floating about the house somewhere, and I keep meaning to sit down and study it. I seem to have similar internal, emotional battles to yours, but you definitely have fought harder and more purposefully and have found more guidance in the Word, and gained more victories than I have. This encourages me greatly. I wonder if nobody I met in real life has those battles because us melancholy people are a smaller percentage of the population from the other personality types? Or, if I do have some real-life friends, are we unable to connect face-to-face in this plane because it’s such a deep place that it’s too much to go there in person and words are a better medium for communication of this sort?

    Either way, THANK YOU, for being online and encouraging and spurring me onwards at the same time!

    • Jill says:

      I feel the same way about having difficulty connecting on a deeper, spiritual level with my real-life friends too. I wonder if the vulnerability it takes to make that real connection is just something I am not yet comfortable with. It is easier to be more superficial and not face being hurt than it is to put yourself out there.

  7. Jill says:

    I have been feeling the Holy Spirit pushing me to really scale back the amount of time I spend online, watching tv, and generally “checking out” of my life. It is much easier to spend time doing these things than to be really present with the things that matter. That sounds pathetic but is true. Thank you for the push to use my time doing something that counts! I truly appreciate your words! Jill


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