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Stepping Stones

A Monthly Devotional, by Michaela Popielski.

So, for this month’s devotion, I didn’t quite know what to write about so I thought I’ll go free hand with this one so to speak. One thing that I’ve been thinking about is music and how it affects our lives, moods and over all view of life. This may sound similar to my sister’s blog but I’ve been chewing on this for a while. I can’t remember if I’ve written on this subject before, but from what I’m feeling as I type this, I think I am on the right track. Last night I was trying to sleep and couldn’t. I tried everything, even listening to worship music. The worship music was the only thing that calmed me down. I still come couldn’t sleep till about 1 but it got me thinking about how what we watch and listen to effect us.

The saying “The eyes are the window to the soul,” is so true. We may not feel effects now but we might eventually. I’m not saying secular music is bad. It all depends on the question if you let it effect you. I know some people who listen to only worship music and that’s what works for them. Me, I listen to a mix. I limit my secular music to a certain amount but I still listen to it. Though, modern day secular artists, in my opinion can’t hold a candle to Bands such as Hillsong, Unhindered, Flyleaf and Skillet. Which my 3 year old niece likes. How cool is that? Anyway, back to subject. What I am trying to say is, music literally can make you a different person. Like say Evanescence. I’ve heard a few of their songs and I like them (the band) but I almost never listen to them. Basically I have my boundaries set and I don’t want to change them. Evanescence can make you depressed. The singer’s voice and the lyrics combined, from my perspective, can either make you thoughtful or depressed. At times both. I’m not telling what to listen to and what not to. That’s between you, God, and probably your parents.

How we manage our media intake can effect our families as well as us. Even though you are the one listening to the music, they need to figure out how to handle your mood. If you have one. On some people, Evanescence and similar bands don’t even have an effect. It’s a heart/soul issue. When I was addicted to reality crime shows and my heart was literally being hardened and I was thinking about how to get away with a crime, I talked to my parents and they both said I was worrying them. That hurt me but I said that I wasn’t serious. Finally when I was telling my mom I thought I was having trouble sleeping because of my crime shows. She agreed and told me to ask myself something, “Is this what Jesus and his friends would watch on a Friday night?” I was thinking about it and realized I was thinking about and watching exactly what He despised. Murder, robbery, pain and greed. I turned on some worship music to calm my nerves and almost instantaneous, started crying. And I mean, crying. I hadn’t realized how hardened I had become to that stuff. (I had been watching crime shows for about 2 or 3 years.) But that’s a different subject. Or is it? It’s still media.

Media has a bigger effect on our lives than ever. Though I’m pretty sure we have all noticed it. They’ve even went beyond some boundaries on the radio. What I don’t get is that they allow some profanity that according to them isn’t bad as long as there is nothing else. Aren’t they all the same thing though regardless? Cussing? Each word is just as bad as the other. Most lyrics don’t only have profanity. I’ve had to turn off the radio countless times due to content besides language. Like I said, I don’t listen to secular music all the time but when I do I usually listen closely and try to pick out the lyrics and I’ve found it’s easier to pick out stuff the closer I get with God.

It breaks my heart seeing what reality is becoming. It’s almost made me want to go back to the early days. I Love Lucy or Happy Days anyone? Try to imagine this, if the media is bad now then what is it going to be like for our future kids? And I’m not just talking about crime shows. Almost any show now is dirty or bad in someway. My nieces can’t even watch Nickelodeon anymore due to that stuff. I guess as I finish this paragraph I want you guys to ask yourselves two questions: 1.) “How is this affecting me now compared to before?” and 2.) “Would Jesus join me in watching this?” I guess that concludes this month’s devotional sermon.

Until next time,

Michaela

Apr. 1 – Rom. 4:17, Rom.8:12, Isa.6

Apr. 2 – Phil.4:8, Rev.17, Hosea 6

Apr. 3 – Luke 18:1-14, Ps.199: 25, 32

Apr. 4 – Ps.36

Apr. 5 – Isa. 25, John 4:27- 38

Apr. 6 – Acts 8:26-40, Rev. 18

Apr. 7 – John 11:35, 1 Thess. 2:12, Mark 4:38, 5:38

Apr. 8 – Isa. 7, Titus 2:11-15, Eph. 4:11-16

Apr. 9 – Gen.24 Hosea 7,

Apr. 10 – John 13:1-17, John 16:5-16

Apr. 11 – Acts 4:23-37, 1 Cor. 2:6-16

Apr. 12 – 1 Cor. 9:19-23, 1 Cor. 14, Rev.19

Apr. 13 – 1 Cor. 15-16

Apr. 14 – 2 Cor. 2:5-11, Heb.9:11-28

Apr. 15 – 2 Cor. 2:12-17, Rev. 20

Apr. 16 – 2 Kings 5

Apr. 17 – 2 Cor. 2:5-6 Isa. 6

Apr. 18 – Hosea 8, John 15:1-17

Apr. 19 – Isa.7

Apr. 20 – Rev.21, Isa. 8

Apr. 21 – Ps. 150, 56

Apr. 22 – John 15:18-27

Apr. 23 – Hosea 9

Apr. 24 – Philemon 1, Isa.9

Apr. 25 – 1 John 4:1-6

Apr. 26 – Gen 26, Rev.22

Apr. 27 – Amos 4, John 3:16-17

Apr. 28 – Micah 4:1-5, 6

Apr. 29 – Ps.37

Apr. 30 – Isa. 9

38 Comments

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  1. Thank you! This is a beautiful piece–and very thought provoking. I guess you could say we are on opposite ends of the spectrum. You encourage us to be careful of what we see and hear, and I ask others to learn about everything, even things that are distasteful and sometimes even wrong, so that we can avoid them and be a force for good against them. I think both are important to do. But you have convinced me to be more careful, both in what I see and hear, and in what I say and do, and especially in what I write in my stories for others to see and hear. It does have an effect upon us, and it is not always a good effect. Even the music we hear influences us, as you have said.
    Last year I was lucky enough to attend a concert by my favorite band. It was an incredible night, and I loved it because I got to enjoy the music, the people, the sights and sounds. But being Rock n roll, half the crowd was drunk. I don’t want to preach about my view on drinking, no matter what i think there will always be people who do it, for reasons of their own, and I believe that they are good people. I’ve found that in most walks of life, even people who seem But Rock n roll preaches a very certain message: sex, drugs, and rock n roll. That’s what it’s all about. I love the music, the personalities you encounter…but as I got into the car to leave, watching the people stumble back to their cars, I wondered “how many people are going to die tonight?” driving home…drunk. You’re right. What we see and hear influences us, and we can enjoy a lot of things without being harmed and even profiting from them–all it takes is a heart–but maybe we take it too far sometimes. I mean, is it worth it? Dying for just a night of partying and drunkeness…despite any religious views on the matter. Just for that one night, those few beers. Is it worth dying for?

    1. Hey Madeleine. I am so glad you liked the column. I was praying as I was writing that this column would touch at least one person. And I agree with you that we are kind of on opposite ends of the spectrum. But both are good views. Like you said, religion aside, it is a heart thing. I know people who have gotten drunk and they are wonderful people when sober. I also agree that one night of partying not worth dying for. I’ve never been to a concert or anything that wasn’t church related since I’m really busy and most of my social life involves my youth group and my parents are pretty involved and won’t relent until I move out. Go figure. But back to subject, I was listening to the radio today while I ran some errands and as the radio was playing, I had this sort of regret feeling that I wasn’t listening to christian music. (I lost my Toby Mac CD and its killing me.)But the message in my youth group tonight clinched it.
      This wasn’t the lesson but really thought provoking. Last December,one of my friend while we were at IHOP, deleted all the secular music off her Ipod. I saw what she was doing and she told me that the Lord was laying on her heart about the music she was listening to. Though like I said, I do listen to Bands like Evanescence and even The Black Eyed Peas. So I listen to all kids of music. Which thankfully isn’t too much of a challenge. The only real challenge was the reality crime shows. Talk about influence. I shudder to think about how bad it might have been if I didn’t stop. One thing that God was putting on my slowly hardening heart was the innocence of the victims. Some of them only a little younger than my younger cousins. I had nightmares for weeks before but mainly after that. So, God can use anything to get out attention. Even nightmares. Crazy right? But again, I am glad you liked it. I really enjoy writing this column and I want to encourage other writers out there to keep it up. Something I learned tonight is that no matter your talent,it will only stay if you have the right character to keep it up. I hope I didn’t sound judgmental or self absorbed or anything in this response. If I did I apologize. I wasn’t trying to be.

    2. Hi, Michaela!
      You don’t sound judemental or self-absorbed–I think you’ve said this very well. Influence is something we can never get away from, so we have to pick what we allow to be an influence in our lives. I listen to Evanescence and the Black Eyed Peas, too! They’re great bands, you just have to make sure you get the right message and don’t become terribly depressed because of Evanescence or too involved in the kind of life the Black Eyed Peas’ music promotes. I write novels, mostly realistic fiction, and I try to tell stories that are real. A lot like your crime shows. I think it’s good to be aware of the wrongs in the world and do something about them–but I’ve had my fair share of nightmares. I’ve managed to wake my family in the middle of the night screaming all because of a story that was a little too real. It scared me and it sure scared them.
      Thank you so much for writing your column! I’m looking forward to reading what you have to say next month!!!!

  2. I haven’t screamed my family awake yet but I have been to the point where I was scared to walk through my house at night. Though the portraits of Indian’s and Abe Lincoln my mom put up are kinda creepy in the right light. I like writing also. I have a few short stories. They are fiction but they portray to real life.

  3. You write too? That is so awesome! You should submit one of your short stories to be published so I can see one!!! I wrote “when the light goes out” which was in this month’s issue. Short stories are so much fun!!! What kind of subject matter/plot theme do you like?

  4. Anything really. I’ve noticed that I’ve been writing some fantasy stories but I’m real picky on details so it might be a while before I put one on here. Though one that I’ve actually finished is Christian/reality based. It was my first one so its not the best. More corny than anything I think. But I’ve gotten some great ideas from authors like Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti. Rick Riordan’s Greek/Egyptian mythology fiction series’ as well as some fairy tale spin offs for preteen/early teenage readers that I would read a few years back. So I’ve had some help in the inspiration/fantasy department.
    But I’ve always loved writing, mainly poetry but it has improved my grammar when writing. Also, this latest devotional is kind of short and not put together as much as I would like. My sister and her kids have moved in while her husband is at basic so its been crazy.

  5. Hey, that’s cool that you get to see your sister more often! My sister is moving out soon to go to college. I’ve read Rick Riordan’s stuff–he’s great! I loved Percy Jackson. But in the past I was a bit of a mythology geek. I think some of the random myths hung on. LOL still remember some of it, but not as much as I would like! You’ll have to tell me if you get a story put up here–I’d love to read it! 🙂

  6. I will. And I’ve always loved mythology. I think its cool how Rick Riordan was able to take classic Greek and Egyptian myths and make them more kid- friendly so to say. Have you ever seen Clash of the Gods?

  7. I haven’t seen Clash of the Gods, but now I’m curious! What’s it about?

  8. Greek mythology. Its cool because the cover some of the most famous myths in history. Medusa, Hercules,Zeus, Hades as well as some others. And whats cool is they compare the things the ancient greeks believed in to some similar events in the bible. Of course I know that they are coincidences and the bible is true but its still interesting to see things from the ancient greeks point of view. Its on youtube I think.

  9. Warning: Clash of the Gods is very different from the way its put in the Percy Jackson series.

  10. Cool! It sounds a lot like Clash of the Titans…I’ve seen both versions of that one…not that great, but it was fun to watch! LOL It is very cool to see those coincidences–I actually think they are more than just coincidences. The events are very similar to those in the bible because they are the same events, just told from a different viewpoint with a different understanding of what happened–the greek way of interpreting what happened! I love to hear the stories the greeks told to explain things…they’re so different from our way of seeing it.

  11. Thats what I like about it. Different view points. I’ve loved stuff like that. Seeing or learning about things from someone else’s perspective and mythology. And it could be that they were talking about the same events. It wouldn’t surprise me if they were. Its very interesting to think about something from some one else’s perspective. Both ancient and modern. The Egyptians would edit their history of someone did something that was shameful. The only people who really know what happened during those times are God and the people who lived there. Though it is very interesting to read what explorers and archaeologists have discovered. Though something just came to mind. It says in Deuteronomy that God buried Moses on a mountain but no one can find the remains where as some people discovered giant skulls that prove that there were ginats in Israel at the time the bible was written. SO that proves the truth of David and Goliath. (A friend of mine posted pictures on facebook.) So maybe God has certain things he wants us to find and others he doesn’t? What do you think?

  12. I hadn’t heard about the giant skulls! I’ll have to look that up! I never thought about finding Moses’ remains…it’s kinda like the arc of the covenant! They’ve been searching for it for years, and honestly, is it even still on earth? I watched something on it a couple years ago and people were putting forward different theories that A, the arc was hidden somewhere on earth, B, it was destroyed in order to keep it from enemies, and C, that God took it back up to heaven. They did some cool thing about the electricity that might have been involved when the bearers who touched it got zapped or something…but I’m kinda unclear on that point…I don’t remember everything they said.
    The egyptians editing their history…sometimes I can understand that, but othertimes…my mom is into geneaology, so I guess I can’t understand wanting to destroy family history because I’ve spent so many hours going through pictures, documents, and all that stuff. I think it’s pretty cool–have you done any research on your family history? It’s amazing some of the things that come up–unfortunately if you have danish ancestry, you can’t find the graves because they are resued…kinda weird, I know, but it’s true! LOL

  13. The arc of the covenant. Thats very interesting. I think God might have hidden it like he hid Moses’ body. And I think in 1st or 2nd Samuel it said that if you touched it or even looked inside you would die because the power of God was so great. Though it is talked about it a lot in Exodus through Deuteronomy. And I believe that about the danish. My mom taught us British Lit and it was my favorite class. She was able to trace our family line on her side to I think the 900’s. SO its pretty cool. I don’t think we are danish but we are Welsh along with about 8 other types of eastern Europe. Both sides of my family are European. But we found out that we are related to a king of England and a princess of Wales. On my moms side. The king was the person who killed William Wallace. He was called Long Shankes. We aren’t happy about that. Have you ever seen the movie Braveheart?

  14. That’s awesome! My family is European too–German, Irish, English, Danish, and maybe some sweedish. LOL We’re related so the Stewarts? Not quite sure which royal family, and some pirates or something…which my brother is thrilled about. LOL He’s got a thing for pirates. I don’t think I’ve seen Braveheart–what’s it about?

  15. Its about William Wallace who fought with a I guess you could say rag tag army of Scotsman and Irish to fight off the hold of the king of England at that time, who was horrible by the way. And he became famous for playing a key role for Scotland’s independence from England. Though the movie has a lot of drama that never happened in real life. It places in the 1200’s. Its a sad movie in some parts.

  16. Oh no! Not a sad movie! I hate those–they make me cry and then everyone laughs at me. Scary movies and sad movies…I’m a bit of a sucker you could say. LOL But I love anything with historical references–I just got accepted a USF today(The University of Saint Francis) where my dad teaches (we’re literally five minutes from campus, and I’ll be an ACE student there this fall, so I think I’m gonna take a class on the christianity, judaeism and the Holocaust. 🙂 I know the professor, and he seems to be a good teacher, so I hope I get into the class. We’ll see if it’s full or not. Are you thinking of colleges yet?

  17. I can’t watch scary movies. My imagination is very vivid and I like my sleep. I do okay on sad movies unless I’m on a sugar crash then I cry over the littlest things in the movie. 🙂 And I think of college all the time. I’m planning on going to Ivy Tech for my general studies and then either ISU or IUSB (Indiana University of South Bend)for a psychology degree. But the classes you listed sound very interesting. I love learning about stuff like that. Its sad though that the Holocaust had to happen though.

  18. Yeah, the holocaust was horrible. The sad thing is that there are now concentration camps in North Korea… 🙁
    My brother and Dad like to watch scary movies, but I can’t watch them either. Strong imagination, just like you. LOL If you’ve ever seen Apocalypse Now, you’ll understand. That movie was the most incredible movie I have ever seen, but it is also the scariest. Not because of violence, but the madness of the guy…just crazy! Yikes!
    Psychology? That’s awesome! I’ve considered psychology too! I considered taking an intro class, but it has about 50 students, so I didn’t want to be in a class that big for my first college class. Is there a college near you where you can take college classes early?

  19. My sisters enjoy scary movies. I’ve never seen Apocalypse Now but it sounds good. I don’t mind psychological movies just horror. And I think so for the early college classes. I know Ivy Tech offers one free class to juniors and seniors and some public high school’s offer dual credit classes but thats all I know. I’m not sure if VU offers them or not.

  20. Cool–I didn’t do the public highschool thing, I’m just doing college classes. My sister did it, and she got A’s, so the bar is set high! LOL
    On another random note related to movies–did you see the Hunger Games? I never saw the movie, because friends said it wasn’t so good, but I read the books. They had some historical references in them–kinda cool…

  21. I haven’t seen the Hunger Games. My sister says its really good. I’ve only read the first book. The 2nd and 3rd are always checked out. But they do have references now that I think about. Hopefully though America will never come to that. And I haven’t tried the highschool thing either.

  22. Yeah, i hope America doesn’t come to that either. If it does, I’m moving to Europe! LOL If you ever get the books from the library, you should finish them–they’re by far some of the best popular fiction out there. I don’t know if you’ve read Harry Potter, but it’s very good–my favorite, actually, but Twilight is not worth the read in my opinion. The Vampire thing I just find creepy. But that’s a personal opinion LOL

  23. I have read the Harry Potter series. The Hunger Games are as good but the relationship between Katniss and Peeta was kind of predictable. Kind of like it was obvious Harry and Ginny were going to end up together. And I think Twilight is a waste of time also. I was getting Brio magazine a while back and they did an article on it. It was kind of gross. My sister and I used to have a deal going on that for every twilight book she finished I would buy her a chocolate bar or something. She only got through the 1st book. She forgot about the 2nd. She swore she was losing IQ points.

  24. losing IQ points…that sounds about right! I read all four, and I think I’m dumber for it. All I know is that if there is a guy that sparkles–don’t trust him! LOL that was the main thing I didn’t get…vampires sparkling. I like watching Lost Boys where they burn up in the sun. 🙂
    True, the relationship was predictable. Aren’t they all? I don’t see why every story has to be a love story. But then again, I’m not very romantic, so I would think that way. LOL

  25. I kind of am a romantic but not to a huge degree. I find it annoying when you can guess who is going to end up with who. And vampires burning up in the sun sounds more realistic than sparkling. I have friends who love twilight so it gets kind of annoying when I see status’ about it but we’re all different.

  26. Yes, we are all different. That’s what makes life fun!!! And burning up is definitely more realistic…and awesome. 🙂 Are you on facebook?

  27. Yep. Are you?

  28. Yep. I’m on facebook. Madeleine Richey. You can add me if you want. 🙂

  29. Okay. Are you out of school yet?

  30. Pretty much. I have a couple math lessons to do and a theology test…but let’s count it as done! LOL I’ve been putting off doing the rest of it…I hate taking tests and I HATE math…probably because I’m horrible at it. LOL What about you?

  31. i’ve beem out of school for about a week but my mom has a list of books for me to read as american lit. i like reading so its not too bad. i just get a headache after reading for 2 hours straight.

  32. Hey I added you but my hair is blonde in the profile picture not auburn. Just so you know its still me but an older pic. It was taken last November.

  33. I got your friend request!!!! 🙂
    I love reading, too! I can read for hours and hours–sometimes I will read for five or six hours straight…but that’s as far as I can go without having to get up and use the bathroom. LOL But otherwise I won’t move for hours if it’s a really good book. 🙂 I have a reading list for school too this summer. I am gonna roll my junior and senior years into one this upcoming year, so I have lots of reading to do for history and literature. LOL But it could be worse…I think I’m done reading Herodotus, so life isn’t too bad. LOL What kind of books are on your list, for school and pleasure?

  34. Yay! Last of the Mohican’s, To Kill a Mocking Bird and others around that type of reading. Classics basically. For pleasure, thats a hard one. Pretty much anything I can get my hands on. I’m not too picky. Sometimes my parents don’t want me to read certain books but they’ve been letting me make most of my own choices when books come into play. The ones my mom is iffy on are the biographies of old Hollywood stars like Lucille Ball, Vivian Vance etc.due to content And very graphic novels and adult romance ones. I stay away from the last two anyway without her saying so. But also Christian fiction. My dad is the music person and my mom manages books.

  35. To kill a mocking bird is really good! Last of the Mohicans I never made it through. LOL Yeah, my parents are really good about letting me read whatever I want. For years I’ve been picking my own reading material…which has been both good and bad. I’ve learned a lot of things, but there are some books that looking back on…I wish I wouldn’t have read for many reasons. I’ve read biographies of hollywood stars before…mostly 80’s rockers…so yeah…those can get. Gross. That’s the word I’m gonna use. LOL

  36. It works. Thats about the only word I can come up with.

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