Is Your Life in or out of Focus?

Our busy lives can blind us from what God is trying to show us.

Our busy lives can blind us from what God is trying to show us.

Well, life just got really busy with the beginning of this school year. There is so much involved in preparing for students, putting a classroom (speech room) together, and making sure my own children are prepared to start their school year.  The sands of time are falling faster than my list of things to do is being checked off.

What are you spending your time focusing on right now? What commitments are forcing you to move around at lightening speed?  Is your focus on Earthly things like mine has been lately or on Heavenly things which I have been ignoring?

When I was putting the contents of my desk back together, I came across an index card that I had written a reminder. I am not sure when I wrote it, but it was a message to keep the focus on what is in His plan for me, and not necessarily what I had planned for myself.

The top part of the index card had a phrase that I had heard (I think from church):

God’s first concern is not our happiness—it’s our holiness.

This truth struck me and stirred something inside of me while I was organizning my room. It is so easy to slip back into the pattern of keeping God at bay so we can take care of the more “important” things.  I thought I would share with you the message that I wrote on this index card in case it would help someone else to keep their focus.  I was lucky enough to find it at a time my hamster wheel was starting to turn.  This is the reminder that I wrote:

I want to fast-track my way into what I want, but then I short-circuit His plan for me.  God doesn’t want me to just focus on jobs, relationships…, so He isn’t going to give me the steps in my life until I stop and grow in my fellowship with Him.

When I’m in His Word, in prayer, and looking upwards, then He reveals His next step.  It may not be the answer that I want, but it’s His answer, so it’s perfect for His will and plan in my life. He will let me suffer and in my suffering, I am drawn closer to Him; my character is building and my testimony is created.  It’s all for His glory—not mine.

If you have one foot inside your hamster wheel and ready to jump on, I pray that this reminder will help you as well.  As a Christian community, we need to be reminding each other of what our priorities should be because when God is the focus, everything else that is out of focus will soon be crystal clear.

Peace-Who Wants It, and How Do We Get It?

I am tired of giving my peace away-aren't you?

I am tired of giving my peace away-aren’t you?

I search for peace day and night.  I can tell when it eludes me because I begin to feel anxious and my thoughts are jumping over multiple tracks never landing on the one that will bring me peace.

Trying to catch a lightning bug across a yard after his light goes out is easier to do than catching peace. My peace escaped through my fingers recently because I’ve taken the worries of the world upon myself again and left God out.

Why is this so easy to do? I am able to slip back into this pattern so effortlessly that it materializes undetected.  The increments are so tiny by which they occur, a turtle could pass faster than my sliding.

The last few days I have let life take over, it has a funny way of doing that, so my soul thirsts for what I’ve lost—my peace.  I sat down with God’s Word this morning with this heavy on my heart.  Truthfully, when I open His Word I sometimes think, “Wow, that is just what I needed,” or “God, I’m not really sure I get what you are saying here,” or simply, “Huh?”

When we read the same scripture multiple times, what was once a, “Huh?” can turn into a “Wow!” Those days are the best days.

Proverbs 3:17, “Her ways (wisdom’s ways) are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.” NIV

The first time I read this, I had a neutral response. I thought, “Okay,” and went on to read the subsequent verses.  Since really soaking up Proverbs this last month and gaining understanding that wisdom develops by fearing (revering) the Lord, I read this verse again with my peace hanging out to dry and thought, “Wow! I get it!”

Our peace is interwoven with reading His Word every day. When we do, we take up the sword of God’s armor which is the only offensive piece we are given. Might I add, it is the only piece that is needed.  His piece brings peace.

Without God’s sword, we are merely accepting the hits of life and standing there taking them one by one.

Pick up your sword found in the pages of the Word of God, revere Him, learn His truths, and the author of peace and wisdom will erase every other track that does not belong in your life and reveal the only one that does.

In order to gain peace, we need to gain God.  The choice is ours.  We can either allow life to continue serving uppercuts, or we can utilize the gift of God’s sword.

He is the author of peace, so why do we try to read self-help books or any other book to find it?  Why try to catch a lightning bug a yard away when there is one right by your side?  His light never goes out.  We just need to be willing to catch it.

Memes for Christ: Bad Contractors, Don’t Apply Here!

wisdom, understanding, knowledge

Have you ever experienced a bad contractor?

“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” (Prov. 24:3-4) NIV

The most important part of having a good house is having a good contractor.  A successful and trustworthy contractor doesn’t act alone. They surround themselves with mentors they can refer to and subcontractors they can trust and depend upon

The contractor uses their many years of experience to weigh the successes and failures of previous decisions in order to plan and choose the materials and layout that best fits our family.

The end result is an amazing house that will stand the test of time.

If our contractor has only one or two qualities of wisdom, understanding, or knowledge, it may be best to find a new contractor.

This is also true for ourselves. We need wisdom to build our spiritual houses and make good choices. We need understanding gleaned through the wise counsel of trusted people in our lives to strengthen our moral discernment of what is right and what is wrong, and we need to be acquiring knowledge by observing, studying, being slow to speak, and heeding the wisdom of others.

How do we obtain all of this?

Fear our Lord, and He will give all of these to you. (Prov. 1:7)

When we revere God and know He is the author of wisdom, He will direct and teach us on how to be more wise.

Memes for Christ: Step Away From Control

What is around the bend is none of your business.

What is around the bend is none of your business.

Are you tired of being a control freak?

Prov. 20:24, “The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” NLT

We are planners by nature-always trying to prepare for the unexpected. Even when packing for a picnic, we make sure we have everything by checking off lists and anticipating who will fall and hurt themselves or who won’t eat the bologna.

How often do we end up around the bend in the road to learn we were preparing for all of the wrong things? No one fell, and Johnny spilled his drink all over the sandwiches.

Maybe the sandwiches are ruined, but the nice family sitting at the picnic table close to yours saw your dilemma and said they had plenty of fried chicken to share! You get to chatting, and you discover this family just moved to the area and bought the house right down the street from yours!

Why do we worry? Trust in God to direct your steps. He knows the big and small happenings of your life. Take each step in faith and know that your God is there to guide you.

Memes for Christ: Do You Have a True Friend?

walk in truth “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” (Prov. 27:6) NLT

Seeking godly counsel is spattered all throughout Proverbs. It is stated and restated as one of the wisest things we can do.

When we are angry or in the wrong, be wary of those who will give you false advice or flattery.

It is much better to be set straight from a trusted friend whose truth may sting our egos than from someone who will lead us astray by patting our backs and giving us high fives.

We are asked to seek the hard truth. We are asked to seek God’s truths and a friend you can trust will keep your path straight.