Good morning. It is Thursday, December 30, 2021. Jeanette Stark here.
A headline caught my attention this morning. “Alexa Fixed After Dangerous Challenge.”
Apparently a 10-year-old girl asked her Echo Smart Speaker for a challenge to do. The Alexa Virtual Assistant suggested the girl “plug in a phone charger about halfway into a wall outlet, then touch a penny to the exposed prongs.”
WARNING! DO NOT DO THIS!! You more than likely will be electrocuted.
When I was a very young girl (and a bit bratty it seems) I convinced my 2-year-old sister to stick one of grandma’s sewing pins into an outlet.
WARNING! DO NOT DO THIS! Your little sister will get shocked, and you will get a spanking!
But back to Alexa.
If you stop and think about life just 30 years ago, it really is mind boggling.
We now have smart phones, voice-to-text, social media, cameras on our phones, door cams and door dash…technology has made our lives so much easier; or has it?
At the risk of upsetting anyone, I would say, no. It has not. It has made our lives more complicated. Not only that, but never in the history of man have we been more able to connect with each other and yet never have we been more isolated, addicted, and lonely
We no longer have social skills, or very few. We have forgotten about game night and what it means to enjoy each other’s company. Everyone is staring at their phones, playing games, or chatting and texting with someone else.
We now can do everything from the comfort of our home, including working and shopping.
Remember a paper map in the glovebox! That is a relic from the past.
Remember a roll of film with 12 or 32 exposures? Taking that film to the Photo Den or some little drive-up Kiosk. Waiting 48 hours to get your pictures back and then carefully placing them in a photo album. Now we take thousands of pictures but rarely look at them.
You can get eBooks and audio books and ‘read’ to your hearts content without ever touching a real book, without turning a page.
People’s jobs are replaced with high tech computers.
But back to Alexa.
“The little girl from Dallas, Texas, was casually having a conversation with “Alexa,” Amazon’s voice-activated Echo Dot, about her love of dollhouses and sugar cookies one day. And a few days later, both of those items appeared on Neitzel’s doorstep.
But Brooke’s mom, Megan, assured her daughter that those gifts, particularly the KidKraft Sparkle Mansion dollhouse, came at a cost: $160 to be exact.
“I thought to myself, ‘I did not order those,’ and I asked my husband, and he said he did not order them,” Megan told CBS Dallas.
The next morning, when Megan glanced at the blinking Echo Dot sitting on the table, something clicked. She asked her daughter where the mysterious items came from, and sure enough, Brooke admitted she talked to Alexa about them.
Megan then double-checked her Amazon app, which she uses to monitor her kids’ interactions with the Echo Dot, and uncovered Brooke’s exact conversation with the gadget.
“Can you play dollhouse with me and get me a dollhouse?” Brooke asked the tool, according to CBS Dallas. After confirming the order, Brooke told Alexa, “I love you so much!”
After reading the conversation, Megan had to laugh, admitting that this was a good reminder to activate parental controls. To ensure something like this doesn’t happen again, Megan set a four-digit code on the device for purchases and went over some ground rules with the kids on how to properly use the item.
This isn’t the first time a child has duped their parents by ordering gifts through the Amazon app. In December, a mom from Arkansas shared a story about her daughter using her thumb while she was sleeping to unlock her phone to order 13 Pokemon gifts for herself. The unsolicited shopping spree reportedly cost her $250 in Pokemon presents.” (Source: cbsnews.com)
Two kids in Michigan used technology to get everything on their Christmas wish list this year.
A six-year-old and a four-year-old decided they couldn’t rely on Santa and opted to cut out the middle man, using virtual assistant Alexa to order more than $700 worth of toys.
And their mom had no idea until the boxes showed up on her doorstep. She then took to Facebook, publicly shaming her kids in a video.
“UPS showed up with boxes of gifts and all it had on the shipping tag was my name. So I’m like, okay who sent all these great gifts! Whoever it is got moneyyyy,”
“Then I get ANOTHER knock on the door from UPS so I asked him who sent this stuff? He didn’t know! So I come back in and my 6-year-old says ‘Cam! Our package came that we ordered from ALEXA!!'”
Estell incredulously opens the multiple Amazon boxes as her children look on, bringing one to tears.
A Barbie Dream House, a Barbie doll and PJ Masks toys were all in there. The kids even thought to order AA batteries.
As Estell goes through the boxes, she asks Cam, her four-year-old son: “Did you order me anything?”
His response: “I forgot.”
The kids are going to have to rely on Santa after all — if this didn’t get them on the naughty list — as Estell said in a later post that she was able to get a full refund for all the items from Amazon.” (Source: Edmonton.citynews.ca)
I think many of us talk to God the way these children talked to Alexa. They speak; Alexa delivers just what they asked for…but at what cost?
God is not a Genie waiting to fulfil every wish. He does not give us everything we ask for. If we ask for the wrong thing, God will not grant us that request.
“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” James 4:1-3 NKJV
The English Standard Version puts it this way, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” James 4:3
But exactly is being spoken of here? Is it things? Possessions? Money? No. It is speaking of wisdom.
James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” ESV
If we ask for the right thing, God will give it to us. Remember, He is always working toward our eternal salvation. If winning the lottery would secure that for us, then ya, He might allow us to win, but what He wants more for us is wisdom. With wisdom, God-given wisdom, we will make all the right choices in life. Choices that will lead to eternal life.
Do you remember the story of King Solomon? You can read the story in 1 Kings chapter 3 but basically Solomon asked God for wisdom.
Picking up in verse 10: “It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11 And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12 behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. 13 I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. 14 And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.” ESV
No, God is not an Echo Dot…He is much more! He can give things no device can order for you. He can give wisdom. He can give the gift of the Holy Spirt. He gave His Son to be tortured and killed for our sins so that we can live forever with Him.
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 NKJV
This is the greatest gift God could give. And it cost us nothing. Jesus paid the bill for us. He gave us the gift of eternal life if we want it.
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – NKJV
True love is not giving us everything we want. True love is giving us the one thing we need.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17 NKJV