Digital Disconnect

Digital Detox

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript



Series Code: DID

Program Code: DID210013S

00:18 Welcome, my friends, to Digital Disconnect.
00:21 I am your host Scott Ritsema and I have the joy of presenting
00:24 our 13th message... the last one in the series.
00:28 And this one is maybe going to be the most challenging
00:30 for some of us: it's Digital Detox.
00:33 We're going to make some decisions today of some kind.
00:35 And I have the privilege and joy with my wife
00:38 in Michigan of running a little ministry with a small team.
00:41 We're called Belt of Truth Ministries
00:43 and we share newsletters periodically.
00:45 I hold in my hands one of my favorite stories
00:48 that I've ever heard and ever shared.
00:49 And we pass this on via e-mail newsletter.
00:52 I want to share it with the 3ABN audience as well
00:55 as we begin the question of a family media fast.
00:58 So let's begin with prayer, shall we?
01:00 Father in heaven, we thank you so much
01:03 for the privilege of knowing Jesus.
01:05 We pray that the decisions that we make
01:07 as we're confronted by challenging information
01:09 and conviction by Your Holy Spirit that we would
01:12 come out of that knowing You better and finding greater joy
01:15 in the experience You've created for us to live.
01:19 We trust You; we love You; we know that You
01:22 open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
01:26 In Jesus' name, Amen.
01:28 Well, it begins on a pretty dark note.
01:32 Annesha, the mother was desperate.
01:34 She had two children... a third on the way.
01:36 Her oldest son getting detention all the time in school.
01:39 Ten years old and plagued with dark thoughts
01:43 of even violence against his own family.
01:46 The daughter, age 7, in an even worse state.
01:50 Her mother wrote to us. "It's frightening for me to read
01:54 her feelings of hurt and frustration" Annesha noted,
01:57 the mother noted, as she was reading her daughter's journal
02:00 entry one day. They were deeply morbid thoughts
02:03 for a seven-year-old, too horrible for anyone to have
02:06 at any age. Annesha con- sidered admitting her daughter
02:10 to a hospital, but prayer was her chosen refuge.
02:13 And during the most troublesome time she wrote to us and said:
02:16 "All I can do is hold her tight and pray. " Annesha didn't know
02:22 where to turn for help.
02:24 Knowing of parenting and media seminars she decided to
02:27 reach out to me via e-mail with the plea:
02:29 "I hope and pray it's not too late for us. " Well...
02:33 I assured her it is most definitely not too late.
02:36 We set her up on the video channel
02:40 and she began watching the seminars.
02:42 I advised her: "You're going to do a trial.
02:44 Do a test run of a whole different way
02:47 of doing life with the whole family.
02:50 Focus immense attention on that daughter and the son.
02:54 Specifically for three weeks you're going to eliminate
02:58 screen time completely if you take this challenge on.
03:01 Be outside literally as much as possible.
03:05 Commit to a whole food plant-based diet for the time.
03:09 Spend lots of quality time together.
03:12 And all of this is to be bathed in spiritual themes
03:15 of joy and peace and prayer for the power of the Holy Spirit.
03:19 I recommended the family follow the strict
03:22 three-week media fast prescribed by psychiatrist
03:26 Dr. Victoria Dunckley in her book Reset Your Child's Brain.
03:30 You might remember we referred to the findings
03:32 of this researcher and practitioner
03:34 where she's treated hundreds of children
03:36 with previously diagnosed disorders of various kinds
03:39 from depression to anxiety to attention problems
03:42 to disruptive moods. And she's found that taking them
03:45 off media for three weeks and putting them on better things
03:47 like nature and real stuff and relationships and eye contact
03:52 she finds 80% of her patients
03:55 have the majority of their symptoms disappear.
03:58 What an amazing thing!
04:00 So we're going to try this.
04:02 We went over some examples of specific night-time routines
04:06 you could try since that troubling time
04:08 in this family... troublesome time of day
04:11 where these really dark things come in.
04:14 Since most people are aware there is an enemy out there:
04:18 Satan, the adversary, and we are in a struggle
04:21 against... not against flesh and blood but against these
04:24 principalities and powers of darkness.
04:26 We recommended that they cleanse their house
04:29 of CDs, DVDs... anything of the world
04:32 that the enemy might claim to gain a foothold
04:35 to disturb these little children.
04:38 Most importantly, I encouraged her to keep on praying.
04:40 Keep on praying for and with your children.
04:43 And my wife and I began praying for Annesha
04:46 and her family as well.
04:47 She was determined. It would be difficult she said
04:51 and aside from being in the middle of her 3rd pregnancy
04:53 she also worked nights. But she took the advice seriously.
04:57 She wanted to change... she wanted her family to change.
05:00 She wrote to us: "I'm still struggling and I won't give up,
05:03 but I will claim God's power. "
05:06 Three weeks later I received an e-mail
05:09 after the end of the three-week media fast.
05:11 Annesha had kept a daily diary during this trial time.
05:15 During that time she and her daughter had planted tomato
05:19 seeds. The family had attended Camp Meeting.
05:21 And there was a whole new schedule for nighttime.
05:25 She even changed her work routine to be with the children
05:28 at bedtime. And at the end of the 3 weeks
05:31 get this: neither child was even asking for their media.
05:36 Definite changes were underway
05:38 and this fast was becoming a new way of life in this home.
05:43 On one occasion soon after this
05:45 the children were misbehaving while they were supposed to be
05:47 finishing some chores. Yeah... we all have been there.
05:50 Annesha with her hands full of dishes
05:52 unwashed presently announced that she would be dishing out
05:57 a serious punishment, one that the children would not soon
06:01 forget. And the children began yelling and crying
06:04 but Annesha, instead of lashing out,
06:06 only prayed silently.
06:08 And in reality, she had no idea what punishment she would give.
06:11 She'd been working on not cor- recting the children in anger.
06:14 The media fast helps with that, too.
06:17 Then suddenly as she was praying it came to her:
06:20 their punishment would be to hug and kiss each other
06:22 every morning and evening for the next seven days
06:26 just as Romans 12:21 says.
06:28 "Be not overcome with evil but overcome evil with good. "
06:32 Annesha ended the e-mail to us with this: "I'm so excited
06:36 and I can't wait to see what God will continue to show me
06:39 when I seek Him first. " Next day
06:42 Annesha found a piece of paper with her daughter's handwriting
06:46 taped to the wall. It was a prayer to her heavenly Father,
06:50 one of repentance for the misbehavior of the previous day.
06:54 A prayer for a new heart and a prayer for her family members.
06:58 "Make me a servant humble and meek" she wrote.
07:01 Through eliminating media, incorporating nature, and
07:05 plenty of family togetherness God was transforming
07:08 this family in a matter of weeks.
07:10 A few months later Annesha is now the mother of three
07:14 beautiful children. Both parents continue to spend
07:17 more quality time with their children.
07:19 Media addictions are history
07:21 and this family is now working together
07:22 as a unit, as a whole.
07:24 Her son has not only stopped receiving detentions in school
07:28 but he is now known as an attentive and cooperative
07:31 student. One fellow church member even noticed
07:34 "Your son has made a 150% turn- around in just a few months. "
07:39 That's divine math right there: 150%.
07:43 As for her once-troubled daughter,
07:45 she is now a happy child. She wants to be baptized.
07:49 She feels loved like she's never felt loved before
07:51 and she feels love for her parents.
07:53 "Mommy, I love you to God's throne and back! "
07:56 she recently exclaimed.
07:58 Annesha and her daughter now pray together from a place
08:01 of calm not crisis.
08:03 And praise God this newest baby
08:06 will be well loved at home with his mother without
08:09 anyone exposing this baby to the harmful media of childhood.
08:14 "We're continuing to see improvements" Annesha wrote
08:17 "and still persevering through the tempting discouragements,
08:21 the failures, the struggles, the negative thoughts. "
08:23 Annesha continued to walk with God and cling to His promises.
08:27 And He has only begun to show her and her family
08:30 the blessings bestowed when we follow His way
08:33 for our lives. So may you, also, walk in that same light.
08:38 There is a light in this darkness, and that light
08:41 is named Jesus.
08:43 That is an encouraging story.
08:45 And so many things we could discuss from just
08:47 that one experience, right?
08:49 I mean, how about the part when they cleansed their home
08:52 of the worldly influences? 'Cause this is a dark thing
08:56 and many people might not see that violent of a manifestation
08:59 in their lives of demonic oppression.
09:02 But we might have temptation, discouragement,
09:04 distraction, just darkness and a cloud around us
09:08 that we're not even aware of.
09:09 And when we remove the things of Satan from our lives
09:12 it brings light and angelic peace into our home.
09:15 You know, James 4:8 says that we can resist the devil
09:18 and he will flee from us.
09:20 But I heard a story from a pastor one time
09:24 that made me think about that verse "Resist the devil and he
09:27 will flee from you. " Pastor got on an airplane
09:30 and was discussing with the man next to him
09:32 what they do for work.
09:33 "Oh, hey, what's your name? What do you do for work? "
09:35 "Oh, I'm a pastor. " "What do you do for work? "
09:36 "Oh, I practice witchcraft. "
09:38 "What? How do you make a living doing that? "
09:41 And so he's sitting next to a practicing witch -
09:43 a male witch - and he says: "How do you make a living? "
09:46 He goes: "Well, the most common way is we arrange adulterous
09:48 affairs. Actually a man who wants a certain lady
09:51 who is married... he will pay us and get the lady to leave her
09:54 husband and go with him. "
09:55 What a diabolical thing to do for a living!
09:57 But he says: "You know, we do make good money.
10:01 We do it regularly. " And the pastor says: "You know,
10:03 I'll just say something: you wouldn't be able to affect
10:05 my marriage because my wife and I are Christians. "
10:08 Oh... well now it's on. The witch says to him:
10:11 "We actually get Christians all the time. "
10:14 "OK, well, that may be but I can promise you we have
10:19 the power of Jesus Christ and in His name
10:21 you would not be able to touch my wife and I. "
10:24 Well the witch says: "Well I've heard that before
10:26 but let me ask you a few questions.
10:28 He proceeds to ask the pastor some very specific and pointed
10:31 questions mostly about the media use of he and his wife.
10:35 "What kinds of things are you guys watching? "
10:37 "What kind of videos do you have in the home? "
10:39 "What kind of music do you listen to? "
10:41 "What kind of reading material does your wife indulge in?
10:43 Any of the trashy novels and the People Magazine-type
10:46 of entertainment stuff? "
10:48 And praise God, this pastor was able to go down the litany
10:51 in the list and say: "You know, we've eliminated
10:53 worldliness. We have videos that we watch that are
10:56 uplifting and spiritual and good and true.
10:58 Books: wonderful, good books. Inspiring books.
11:02 Of course, the Bible being most prominent: the Book of Books.
11:05 We don't have any of those things that you mentioned
11:07 in our home. " Well now the witch says to him,
11:10 true story. He says: "Well then you're right.
11:12 We wouldn't be able to touch you. "
11:14 So: "Resist the devil and he will flee from you"
11:16 has a prerequisite, doesn't it?
11:18 What's in James chapter 4 verse 7 right before verse 8
11:23 that says: "Resist the devil and he will flee from you? "
11:25 it says: "Submit yourselves therefore to God.
11:28 Resist the devil and he will flee from you. "
11:30 We've gotta get the whole package.
11:32 We can't dabble in the world
11:34 and be aligned with Satan in some ways
11:36 and then expect the power and peace and presence
11:39 of Jesus in other ways. We say "No" to the world.
11:42 We "touch no unclean thing" God says, "and I will receive you. "
11:45 And that doesn't mean we don't struggle.
11:47 "A righteous man may fall seven times. "
11:49 "We messed up; I raised my voice or got upset.
11:52 I slipped and fell in some way and God, please forgive me. "
11:55 And He will take you right back up
11:56 and His grace is sufficient for you.
11:59 But we are not committed... we are not trying to serve
12:02 two masters. We are not dabbling with one foot in the
12:05 kingdom of Satan and one in the kingdom of heaven.
12:08 That's not possible 'cause Satan makes his claim
12:10 and God says: "You cannot serve two masters.
12:14 Either you will love the one and despise the other;
12:16 hate the one and be devoted to the other. "
12:19 Now, when it comes to the things in our homes
12:22 this older gentleman didn't need to deal with the question
12:25 of video games. It wasn't a pitfall for him.
12:28 But you know, I heard an interesting statement from
12:30 one Jonathan who was quoted in the book Play Station Nation.
12:34 Jonathan became a college student, had been addicted
12:37 to media, and was interviewed as a part of the research
12:39 for this book. And what Jonathan said
12:42 was advice to mothers... to parents.
12:46 They asked him: "What would you say to parents with kids
12:48 in the home today? " He had been allowed to play
12:50 you know a certain amount of video games
12:52 and got into the addiction. He said:
12:54 "Get rid of it completely, entirely.
12:57 I wish my mom had done that.
12:59 Even if you limit the actual playing time
13:02 you're not going to eliminate the kids thinking about it
13:04 as long as it's in the house.
13:06 Don't ask: 'Are video games OK? '
13:07 Just rather ask: 'Is it the best use of time and money? '
13:10 And 'What can we be doing as a family that's better? ' "
13:14 Oh, that's good stuff... good advice from Jonathan,
13:18 a college student who'd been there and done that.
13:20 So how do we gain the victory over addictions and habits?
13:24 And how do we do these fasts? One of the things
13:26 that we've gotta do is healthy living.
13:29 That gives power to the brain to overcome temptation.
13:33 It's universally recognized that the health of the mind
13:36 is dependent on the health of the body.
13:39 In fact, I have a quotation that I want to share with you
13:41 that says:
14:15 This is the sin of Sodom when you end up
14:17 in sexual sin or any habits and any self-deprecating types
14:22 of destructive behavior.
14:24 It's partly you heard fullness of bread and idleness
14:28 and pride and not caring about the poor.
14:30 But thinking about exercise... you know, there are a bunch
14:33 of benefits of exercise. May I bullet point them for you?
14:56 This is all based on research.
15:44 So we're learning new habits.
15:47 Remember: overcoming habits is not so much stopping something
15:50 as it is starting something new.
15:52 And exercise will help you start all those new things
15:54 and exercise can be one of those new things that you are doing.
15:57 New habits... a new way of doing life.
16:00 Remember the story of Annesha. It was re-writing the way we
16:04 do life in general. Not just removing media
16:07 but we're adding all sorts of wonderful things.
16:10 But speaking of simple physiological things we can do
16:14 Listen to this from Dr. John Ratey in A User's Guide
16:18 to the Brain. He says:
16:52 So even secular scientific authorities
16:55 are saying the same thing about exercise and he mentioned diet.
16:59 Oh, dare we touch that one? "Don't talk about what I put
17:02 on my plate! " Oh, this one...we struggle with this one, don't we?
17:06 But you know if we can overcome appetite
17:08 we'll have the mental and spiritual and moral power
17:10 to overcome anything that we face, won't we?
17:12 Listen to this quotation from Mind, Character and Personality.
17:35 Overeating defogs the brain.
17:38 It does things to the brain that make it harder to make good
17:41 choices to overcome the carnal nature.
17:44 Irregular eating, irregular sleeping, not having
17:48 set times of the day that we do these things
17:51 also has the same effect.
17:53 Now I want to quote from page 235 of
17:55 Mind, Character and Personality.
17:58 An excellent book on these things from long ago. It says:
18:32 Those are some strong words right there
18:35 about if we're overeating, eating unhealthfully
18:38 it's going to take its toll
18:39 on our ability to make good choices.
18:42 So what kind of good food choices can we make?
18:45 We all know what bad food is.
18:46 We don't even need to say it.
18:48 We're not thinking about the bad food...
18:50 we're focusing on the new thing we want to become
18:53 compulsively interested in, the new addiction
18:56 we can be addicted and do a new pathway.
18:58 How about a good quality breakfast?
19:01 High fiber: grains and fruits & nuts. Hmm, that's good stuff!
19:06 Did you know that people who eat a high-fiber breakfast
19:09 are found to be:
19:16 THAT is a good piece of news right there.
19:20 There's another quotation I want to share with you.
19:23 The influence of unhealthy food is to:
19:51 So you're getting the idea of quality brain food.
19:55 Complex carbohydrates and good nutrition for the brain
19:59 are going to give us the power to overcome the habits
20:02 of media use. There was a science publication
20:05 called The Annals of Neurology.
20:07 And in this one they looked at some of the
20:10 butter and red meat and these kind of things
20:12 we put in our bodies. And they found that those types
20:15 of fats reduced cognitive scores in the people that were
20:19 eating those versus people who were eating
20:22 nuts and avocados and even olive oil.
20:25 They were performing better than those who were indulging
20:28 on more of the rich indulgences.
20:31 So just some food for thought... pun intended.
20:36 I had the privilege to take some students to Ireland
20:38 as part of my academy teaching years.
20:41 I was a Bible teacher. The music teacher
20:43 set up this whole music tour for the young people,
20:46 and I got to go along and tag along with my wife.
20:50 I had chaplain duties, and so I got to be a part of it
20:54 and witnessed amazing things and incredible, beautiful nature
20:57 and the students singing in amazing places.
21:00 At the end we witnessed downright miracles.
21:03 At the end we had a debriefing session.
21:05 Everybody sits in a circle and we're about to head back home...
21:07 I should mention that before the trip began
21:11 the music teacher announced as being in charge of the trip
21:13 he said: "You're not bringing your phones. "
21:16 Oh... there was almost a revolution
21:18 and a revolt among the students when he announced they were not
21:20 allowed to have their phones on the trip.
21:23 "This is a mission trip. We're going to be focused on
21:25 our mission. " Well, during the debriefing at the end
21:29 they spoke of the miracles. They spoke of amazing things
21:32 but you know what the number 1 thing they said?
21:34 Often they were prefacing it with: "We don't really want to
21:38 say this in front of Mr. Ritsema but... " 'cause I was kind of
21:40 the Media on the Brain guy, embryonic in development
21:43 at that point. And they said: "We are really glad
21:47 that Mr. K, the music teacher, that you didn't require us...
21:50 that you required us to NOT bring our phones,
21:53 that you didn't let us bring our phones. "
21:54 "We are so thankful we didn't have our phones. "
21:57 Can you believe that?
21:58 We think: "I'm glued to it... so addicted to it. "
22:01 When you become freed from something
22:03 and you try something different
22:05 you might find a big surprise waiting at the other end.
22:08 It surprised the young people. Frankly, it surprised the adults
22:11 that they actually felt that way and shared that at the end.
22:14 We don't give them enough credit sometimes, do we?
22:17 Well, we used an analogy at the beginning of the series
22:19 of an optometrist's office
22:22 where you go into the appoint- ment and you don't have glasses.
22:25 You think you're seeing fine
22:26 but at the end of the little test he gives you
22:29 you come out going: "Oh wow! I actually CAN see
22:32 more clearly with the prescription you just put
22:36 in front of my eyes. Really? So that's the natural eyesight
22:39 and that one is the prescription. "
22:42 It surprises you when you try it out.
22:44 So maybe you're thinking about... and if you're not,
22:47 I want to encourage you to think about
22:49 a media fast of some kind.
22:51 In a previous session, we talked about Boredom and the Bible.
22:54 Is your experience with Jesus at peak level?
22:57 Or is there some room to grow?
23:00 And could it possibly be our media choices
23:03 that are causing some of that smog and haze between us and God
23:06 that could actually if we make those media changes,
23:08 increase our love for and ex- perience of Jesus in our lives?
23:13 Maybe our pleasure and joy in life is being numbed & muted
23:17 by the hyper stimulating pleasure seeking culture
23:20 in which we live? And it's innocent media maybe.
23:23 But they did a study in 1954 called The Milner Study.
23:26 They had mice, and they hooked up to the mouse's
23:29 brain a little wire that was connected to
23:31 a lever. And the mouse could tap the lever and literally
23:34 it would send an electrical signal into the nucleus accumbens
23:37 of the brain where the mouse feels pleasure.
23:39 And the mouse quickly learned: "Wow! I tap that lever
23:42 and I feel good! That's an easy, quick-fix way
23:45 to pleasure. Whoo! Yeah! "
23:47 So la de dah de dah. "Ooh, I want to go back.
23:49 Let me go back to the lever. Oh yeah, that's good!
23:51 That's good... now what shall I do?
23:53 Shall I eat my mouse food?
23:54 Nah, it doesn't taste that good. I just want my lever.
23:58 Should I run on a wheel and live a normal mouse existence
24:01 for a little while? No, no, no, no...
24:02 I just want the lever. " The mice became totally addicted
24:04 to the lever, totally consumed with it,
24:06 and they were literally stopping the consuming of food.
24:10 They stopped eating their physical nourishment
24:14 that brought them life and all they wanted was that lever.
24:17 What is our physical nourish- ment that brings us life?
24:20 The Word of God.
24:22 Are we not consuming that like these rats
24:25 'cause we've got something else we're busy with?
24:27 "I'm too busy. The Bible's kind of dull. "
24:29 Well, that's 'cause we re-wired and mal-wired our brain
24:33 into a state of altered and "negativized" -
24:38 that's not a word... it is now -
24:39 tastebuds. Our tastebuds seek that which is
24:42 OVER stimulating. Well, I have some good news for you.
24:46 God can re-wire our tastebuds.
24:49 I want to quote from a publication called
24:52 Review & Herald where it speaks of this very thing.
24:56 We read:
24:58 "If we do not receive the religion of Christ
25:01 by feeding upon the Word of God,
25:04 we shall not be entitled to an entrance into the city
25:06 of God. " How are we saved? By faith.
25:08 Grace and faith through Jesus Christ.
25:11 We have to behold Jesus Christ in His Word.
25:13 "If we are not receiving the religion of Christ... " -
25:16 salvation by His merits -
25:18 "by feeding upon the Word of God
25:20 we shall not be entitled to an entrance into the city of God.
25:23 Having lived on earthly food, having educated our tastes
25:25 to love worldly things,
25:27 we would not be fitted for the heavenly courts.
25:30 We could not appreciate the pure, heavenly current
25:32 that circulates in heaven.
25:34 The voices of the angels and the music of their harps
25:37 would not satisfy us.
25:39 The science of heaven would be as an enigma to our minds. "
25:42 You know what an enigma is? This is... people would be
25:45 transported to heaven who have educated their taste
25:48 to love the things of the world
25:49 and they would find it so dull and uninteresting up there...
25:51 it would not satisfy us we just read...
25:53 they would find it a mystery. "Why do people like it
25:56 up here? " An enigma. "Why would anybody like it here
25:59 in this place? Where are my video games? "
26:01 "Where? I can't get on my social media?
26:03 I've gotta check my notifications!
26:04 Where's my entertainment? "
26:06 Again, there's nothing evil necessarily about communicating
26:08 via Smartphones, but is that addiction captivating us
26:13 to the point where we're losing our taste for the Word of God?
26:16 My wife did a fast from social media for 30 days.
26:21 She asked me to lock her out of her Facebook account.
26:24 At the end of that she said: "Honey, don't tell me
26:26 the password. I've been cured of my addiction
26:28 to Facebook and all the dynamics of negative social
26:32 psychological stuff that goes on in there.
26:34 I'm happier now! "
26:35 We know another mother who uses it in moderation
26:39 in the morning only. You remember all the questions?
26:41 At what times of day? For what duration of use?
26:44 And how frequently? This mother says: "I'm committed
26:47 to only going on their once at one specified location.
26:49 It's not following me everywhere I go notifying me,
26:52 interrupting me. I have 30 minutes in the morning
26:55 some days if I'm ready: if I've exercised
26:57 and gotten the day ready for my child, for my home school,
26:59 etc. " So maybe you're thinking about a media fast.
27:03 Now you've gotten rid of the toxic stuff.
27:04 You get that out of your house. Remember the story
27:06 of the pastor and the witch. We don't want that stuff
27:08 in our house, but are their innocent video games?
27:11 Let's give it a try... go without it.
27:13 Or pick something to say: "I'm going to make a plan;
27:16 I'm going to make a schedule. " You know, King Jotham became
27:20 mighty, the Bible says, because he prepared his way
27:22 before the Lord. Prepare the way before our children and we do...
27:25 I want to share with you:
27:28 I'll walk you through the Dr. Dunckley media fast,
27:32 the three-week media fast 'cause we're out of time
27:34 to really get into all the details of it.
27:37 But preparing something better for those children:
27:40 a lot of your time and attention.
27:42 Better things: books and Play-Doh and nature
27:45 just like Annesha did and her family.
27:47 And God will give us a greater experience with Him
27:50 is the promise of His Word. We will weep and mourn
27:53 while the world rejoices. It will be hard at first
27:55 but our mourning will turn to joy.


Revised 2021-07-27