In 1986, our household was relieved of a Treacherous Villain, that Taker of Vitality – the Television. Ominous scenes of our declining culture had too long passed before the eyes of our family. The sounds and sights, brought from afar, would no longer enter our living room or the hearts of our young family.

Marvelous as it was in electronics and engineering, the all-knowing eye found a new home in the deep ditch at the back of our property. It would now help prevent erosion by filling in its part of the gully. May it rest in unplugged peace.

Since the outside temperatures have dropped, more time in my day has been spent dutifully plodding along the endless whirring belt of the “running” treadmill at the YMCA. It is really more like a “senior shuffle;” however, we all do the best we can – sometimes. If you move that slowly, it takes more time to cover a given distance – simple physics.

So now I have more time to think, pray, review Bible verses or to watch those gigantic screens bolted to the wall. They are so alluring to the eye, the mind and to our attentions! Try as you might, it is only with great difficulty that you could possibly not look at the thing. I am usually
beginning to lose hope of achieving my exercise goals after a few minutes of labor, so something to break the monotony would really help.

Quietly available, there it is, quite willing to implant into my heart and mind what somebody in New York or wherever else decided that I should see and hear. Who are those people, I wonder, and what are their intentions?

Why would they ever choose to circulate such things among America’s citizenship? Is there not anything of more value or productivity than this?

I suppose that it all involves money and power. Paul the Apostle wrote that “the love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10).

As the Terrible Vexation promotes its agenda into the exercise room, we become aware of a colorful, fast-paced and exciting world of advertisement, with some brief programs in between. Who would have thought we needed so many discount mattresses and new medications? They must be losing money on each car or truck, they are so cheap. One time, I glanced up and thought the price for a new truck was not so bad, after all. It was something like $13,000 – but that was just the rebate that they had “taken off.”

The side effects of the drugs advertised are so long in being explained and so dangerous that no one should dare take the risk. The way they speed up the tape and mumble all the disclaimers so fast makes you think they cannot afford the airtime because their product is not selling so well after all. I don’t think I’ll call the number “in the next 30 minutes” to get the tremendous offer. The same deal was on the channel months ago. Do they really think we will send a $300 money order to finally get the sweepstakes jackpot we “hit?” Some folks must do that, or these people would not keep appealing to our pride and self-delusion, ad nauseam.

As I write this it is Jan. 22. By just reading and heeding the 22nd Proverb, we are spared a lot of the agony! The very first verse of just one Bible chapter advises: “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1). Verse three observes: “A prudent man forseeth the evil, and hideth himself” (22:3a), and the next verse proclaims; “By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honor and life” (22:4).

The last verse points out: “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings, he shall not stand before mean (contemptible) men” (Proverbs 22:29). You and I will reap what we have sown in past years.

It will either be corruption or everlasting life (Galatians 6:7,8). We can waste our time in idle neglect of the things of God, or we can resolve to be more disciplined and useful.

Moses implored of God in Psalm 90: “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (verse 12). He stated that because of what was penned in verse 10: “The days of our years are threescore years and then; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” Life is short and must not be wasted. New obituaries are printed every week, and our little day could end at a midnight of “who knows when.”

We are each precious to God, whether we are not quite yet born or else were born decades ago. Likewise, God should grow more precious to us with each new day and with each chapter of the Bible we study. Psalm 139:17 exclaims: “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them!”

I know of no greater neglect of time than the “electronic wasteland” with all its images, sounds, buttons and joysticks. Not only are precious moments of productivity spent in sedate stillness, but also minds are being infiltrated with every evil influence available.

The Devil and his media allies tempt and take young lives down the paths of popular but perverted living, and much is accomplished therein via the ear and the eye. Videos, magazines, “music” and social media help spread the sinful vexations of society. Fresh, younger lives are easy targets for the ill-intentioned One.

Perversions of gender assignment are aimed toward youth, as is the hourly promotion of unnatural sexual wickedness on the “news.” In our prayer-forbidden culture, we see promiscuity approved and pregnancies aborted as if they were a personal choice. It’s prostitution for the attractive and pedophilia for those not so. Persons out of control ply in sex traffic, usually after they have filled up on pornography.

The parade of life and death, seen any time you choose to partake, magnifies misdirected folks in their pursuit of personal choice. “Since God’s will for life seems not to count, my own is always ready to take priority,” says the humanist.

The Thief of Virtue will open its giant eye again tonight to display the sad results of lives lived apart from God. Fortunes lost at the casino, families perishing at the gulp of the drunk driver, chemical lifters and downers overdosing the helpless addict, suicide for the hopeless and good
men and women being shot down by the lawless thug as they attempt to restore law and order. Violent men and shuddering women replace the marriages that should be.

We view the flashing blue and red lights and the caution tape at the crime scene on the evening news.

The law enforcers are on hand, in yellow vests or rain gear. Lawyers and investigators are calculating who and why. The media is recording the scenario of either the crime or the courtroom. As if death and destruction like this were not adequate, we see the mass killing by the Christ-hating terrorist on all-too-frequent occasions that spike the statistics.

This is not the world we want for ourselves or for our youngsters. We have it because too many have closed their Bibles, walked away from church and turned their hearts away from Christ and His loving forgiveness.

If you have read this, there may still be time for you to repent of your sin and receive Christ as your Savior. Then, it will be easier to get back to the Bible!

R.D. “Bob” Hottle is a retired schoolteacher, farmer and pastor of the Anchor Baptist Church.