God Rocks

Focus, Being Intentional Matters

Cross PinkFocus is a part of our day to day lives. We must combat our thinking quite often, and if we do not, we find ourselves walking down a road in our mind that can put us in a place of destruction. Destruction the enemy wants for us. Things like sadness, anger, anxiety, and depression are all things that can stem from not taking that very first negative thought and bringing it captive to the obedience of Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5) We must be intentional about our focus and getting it back to God and to good. (Phil. 4:8)

Sunday morning I found myself realizing the words coming out of my mouth during the song service at church. How often have we sung those words, and yet, this week was the first time they really became real to me.

Now, I have reason, well really, an excuse for having not really paid attention. I am usually focused on playing the notes and that particular song, I easily get off beat if I don’t remain focused during the verses. This week, however, I was playing acoustic guitar instead of piano, and I didn’t play during that part, so I took into my mind and heart what those words were. And, oh man, the impact it had on my heart, and therefore, in my worship.

I was busting at the seams. It felt like I couldn’t possibly express all the love and gratitude I felt in my heart at that moment.

There was this moment the words came alive to me, and it’s funny because I already know exactly what it said. Like, I know the truth in those words. I don’t say it the same way, but I know the truth in it. And at that moment, my head and my heart, my soul, blew up with praise. God is so amazing in our lives.

The first part of the song basically says this. Far worse things have happened than this thing you’re facing right now. Multiple times. And God took care of each one of them with a word. He is able and He will calm the seas for you. Just for you, because He absolutely unreservedly loves you. You just keep your focus on Him each moment of each and every day. Him. Because He alone is worthy of your praise. He alone is worth being at the forefront of your mind constantly and consistently.

And then it goes on to tell you that you shouldn’t dare to not believe Him. How dare you not believe what He says in His word. It doesn’t matter what you see with your natural eyes, the truth found in Him is what matters. And, hang in there, just keep on believing Him above anything else, and you’ll see that mountain in front of you being destroyed. So, just focus on Him. Don’t let your thoughts, your words, your heart be drawn into a place where you care more about the mountain more than you do about the One who created it. He’s got you. Be strong in your faith and in Him.

Now, that’s not to say you have no part in moving that mountain. I have read the Bible many times and it is very clear that with every promise of God, you have a responsibility. I’m not going to go into that here, but look at Matthew 17:20. If you had no part, Jesus wouldn’t be telling you to believe and not doubt and the mountain will move.

So, here’s the thing, you must believe God. And in believing Him, intentionally  get your mind on Him. There is no reason to fear or even to doubt, though we all do sometimes. And when it happens to you, get your focus back, everything is going to be okay!

Isaiah 43:1-2 says this, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.”

I Am A Hypocrite, And So Are You

 

Grace CrossI am a hypocrite, and so are you.

I am a hypocrite. You are a hypocrite. No one can escape it. We all have things we hide from the world; struggles we deal with. In front of others, we tend to try to appear all put together, but inside, we know where we really stand. We know the areas God is trying to change within us, the areas we struggle hard core to become victorious in living. Here are a few things I struggle with.

You see, I know many of the truths found in the Bible, and I try to live by them. Sometimes, I let people believe I’m better at it than I actually am. I don’t purposely lie to them, I just let them believe what they believe, without setting them straight. I mean, how can I teach others to do these things and not be perfect at living them?

Here’s all I have to say about that, if you can find one preacher, teacher, mentor, mother, father, etc., that follows everything they teach perfectly (besides Jesus), let me know and I’ll just stop teaching. No one is perfect, and no one 100% of the time shows or talks about the areas they struggle with.

So, here I stand, admitting my failures. Admitting that I could be considered a hypocrite.  I hope you’ll still hang out with me. Keep reading to find out some areas I know how I should live, according to the Word of God, and still struggle to do so.

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. – Romans 8:1

Have you ever spent time beating yourself up over doing the opposite of what you know to do? For instance, I know it’s important to fill my mind with good things and take every thought captive. (Philippians 4:8, 2Corinthians 9:5). And yet, I’m really good at allowing negative, discontented thoughts fill my mind and stay there far too long.

  1. Thoughts
    • Ever heard the phrase, “You can’t stop a bird from landing, but you can keep it from building a nest there.” We have the ability within us to keep our mind clear of things that are detrimental to our walk with Christ. We just have to make the choice  … every single time, but do I? No. Sad to say, it’s something I struggle with. And then, my mouth opens and the words I speak don’t line up with what I know the Bible says.
  2. Words Mercies are new every morning cross
    • Too many times to count, I have said the wrong thing, or responded the wrong way when circumstances have seemed overwhelming. It’s like, for that moment, I completely forget the things I know to be true. It does no good, however, to beat myself up for the mistakes I make. It doesn’t change it, nor does it help me to do better the next time. (Proverbs 18:21)
      • I remember a time in my life that I wouldn’t even recognize that what I said was harmful. Now it is more obvious to me when I make a mistake. Sometimes, when I’m quick to realize that my words are detrimental, I have the courage to apologize and speak a blessing, but most times, my pride gets in the way.
  3. Pride
    • Pride is merely self-centeredness, which is really the reason I have so many struggles. I care about myself too much, as most people do.
      • “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” – Proverbs 16:18
      • “A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.” – Proverbs 29:23
    • I am on the praise team at church. I play every instrument we have on the team, except for drums, so I am very active. Basically, I move around week to week, depending on which instrumentalist needs the week off.  There are times I get offended because I feel like I shouldn’t just always be everyone’s back-up, but instead I should be considered the “number one guy” on an instrument. Even as I type this, I am realizing how silly that thought is, but regardless, I get offended because I don’t ever get to hear the words, “You’re my number one on bass guitar.” Something like that.
      • When my focus is on serving God, I don’t get offended. It’s when my mind gets focused on me and what I think I deserve, that I allow myself to get hurt.
    • When we keep the Main Thing the Main Thing, when He is what you’re living for, pride isn’t getting in the way.

So, there you have it. Three things I struggle to live, and am therefore a hypocrite. God is still working on me, and I know it. I’m thankful He is a God of mercy and grace, that He allows me the time I need to become closer to what He created me to be.

Who I am, in Him, is more important than how the world views me. If you want help learning, and remembering who you are in Christ, print yourself a copy of “The List“.