Where Is Your Focus?

Where Is Your Focus?

Have you ever seen these shows that star a person who is over 600 pounds? You watch the journey they are on to lose weight. Inevitably, they are sent to a counselor to help them work through their feelings. Why? What happened in their lives that sent them to overeating all day, every day? It was what they focused on.

They have feelings and emotions that have such a powerful hold on them that they cannot get out from under this dark cloud Satan has hung over their heads. The cloud grows and grows because the world, Satan’s world, has lied to them over and over again. They’ve been told to focus on feelings. To listen to their emotions above everything else. They’ve been taught that there really is no truth and that they are basically on their own to establish what is truth based on whatever feeling they are having at the moment.

They grabbed hold of the feelings of loneliness, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, etc. And they spent hour after hour after hour zeroed in on those feelings. Then, they turned to food for comfort. Food became the thing that made them forget their feelings for a time. A very short time, it appears, since they resorted to food so much that they became morbidly obese to the point of searching for help to lose the weight.

I’m going to stop here and just say something so you don’t think I’m uncaring or cold-hearted. Many, probably most, of these people have been through terrible ordeals. I’m not making light of the circumstances they grew up under or the trauma they endured. I completely understand what happens to us when we endure extreme hardship. And, I understand why we sometimes simply cannot just turn off the hurt and pain. I’ve been there. I’ve endured a number of very hard circumstances. Some placed me in a world of hopelessness and depression. As I grew in the Lord and found the real Truth, I became better equipped to handle the hard stuff in a different way. A better way.

Here, I hope to help someone learn a different way to approach the torment of the circumstance they’ve found themselves in. Not to make light of it, but to learn a better way. A more Godly way so that they can live out what the Scripture says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thess. 5:16-18

Proverbs 4:20-23

Give Attention

Proverbs 4:20, “Give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings.”

  • Make the Word of God, this great gift He gave to you, your focus. Don’t let the things of this world cloud over your vision of the Word. Stop allowing everything else to control where you’re looking. God’s Word is everything. His Word is the truth. It doesn’t matter what you see with your natural eyes – the circumstances of life you’re facing – if it’s not lining up with what God says, it’s false.

The remedy to the problem you’re facing is NOT to know the problem better, but to know the Problem Solver better.

Instead of staying up all night rehearsing the problem over and over, stay up rehearsing the Promise you found in the Scriptures over and over.

  • Money, it’s one of the most common struggles in the lives of Believers. Here’s what happens: let’s go with a big one here – the house payment is due in 3 days. Your bank account is at $7.93 and your paycheck, which comes in tomorrow, isn’t going to be enough for the house payment and food to feed your family, gas to put in the car, and the electric bill that’s already past due.
    • So, here’s what you do: while you are at work, you think about the problem. You go over and over how you’re going to get through this. Many ideas pop into your head, including robbing the liquor store down the street. This one you shake off after only a few seconds of imagining yourself attempting such a feat. But, you hold onto some of the others, because you MUST figure out what you’re going to do.
      • Borrow from your parents?
      • Ask a friend what they think?
      • Make the need known to people, hoping someone will help out?
      • Talk, talk, talk some more. Think, think, think some more.
    • What if you replaced that thinking with what God says in the Word? What if you started speaking Scripture and building your belief? What if, instead of trying to figure things out with your own brain, you got God’s brain in on it?
      • Psalm 35:27 says He takes pleasure in the prosperity of His servants.
      • Romans 8:31-32 says that God is for us and that He gave up His own Son, so how would He withhold anything from us?
      • Luke 12:31-32 says that it’s God’s good pleasure to give to us the Kingdom (what is the Kingdom? There’s a series to help you with that. And there will be more because I’m learning so much about it.)
      • 2 Corinthians 9:8 tells us that God wants us to always have everything we need so that we have an abundance for every good work.
        • It’s important to know that God isn’t a genie answering wishes, but He is a miracle worker. And if you need a miracle, speak and think the Word and promises of God, rather than that other nonsense that solves nothing.
        • After the immediate problem is solved, get into the Word and learn to live in the blessings of God; which is far better than always looking for a miracle.

Where is your focus?

Self or Others

Proverbs 4:20-23

Most of us are more self-centered than we think. Do you pay attention to how often you complain over your fellow co-workers? I know the Holy Spirit has been teaching me about this one, because I’m guilty.

  • If your go-to conversation is based on how no one really works at work, except you, of course, then your focus is on you.  “I’m doing it for God” doesn’t really mean anything if what you’re doing is going to work looking for a reason to judge and belittle other associates.
    • Can I just say, your job is a place to serve… if you go to serve, what other’s do will not affect you. Even if it means you have to do more work. If you’re angry about your work load, you’re concerned only for yourself. Do you realize that every time you are offended by someone, it’s you being selfish? Selah – stop and think about that.

I work in the bakery at Walmart. It is located beside the deli. I often have to jump in and help when they get busy, because they are often very short staffed. One day, I was walking by and I smiled at them. One of them said, “We need more Cindy’s.” What was the context? Why did they say that? Because, I set aside my dislike of deli and jumped in, with a smile and a willingness to serve where I was needed. We joked how “more Cindy’s” would ruin the deli’s negative reputation and all had a good laugh out of it, but I was touched by the exchange. I have a reputation at Walmart, as we all do in our workplaces.

My reputation is the happy, kind, giving associate who people want to be around. There’s a guy in another area known by everyone as, “The grumpy man in CAP.” I don’t know if anyone knows his actual name, because he is simply known by his behavior.

  • I say all this to put forth a thought – if your focus is on God, you’ll be a servant and not be offended by co-workers who don’t work the way you think they should AND you’ll be a light to the world. People ask why you’re so happy, kind, etc. and you get to say something like, “God in me” and perhaps have an opportunity to share the Gospel. Whoop!!

Where is your focus?

Responsibility

Proverbs 4:21, “Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart.”

If you will give attention to the Word, it will come alive in you. It is your responsibility. – Barry Bennett

  • I have 2 favorite apps on my phone that help me with my focus. One is Blue Letter Bible, and the other is Bible Verses, a Bible memory app. I don’t use it to necessarily memorize verses, but rather to easily locate the ones that help me get my mind where it should be. I’ve created categorized folders for when Satan – or just life circumstances – try to put my focus on them. These apps help me a lot in regards to keeping my eyes on Him and keeping the Word in my heart.
    • I want God’s best for my life and yours. Staying focused on Him and His Word to us is what gives us that.

Proverbs 4:22, “For they (God’s Words) are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.”

  • Most people really do not take this seriously, nor fully believe it. If they did, they’d be full of life and walking in health. Pure and simple.
    •  Pay attention to His Word. Listen to what He says. Keep it in front of you. Settle it in your heart and you’ll have life and health. (That means spending quality time with Him.)

“Life to those who find them.” FIND THEM.

  • Let’s just be honest here; one of my biggest pet peeves is hearing someone say they want to be more spiritual, or more like so and so (the person they see as soooo spiritual), but they’re unwilling to do what “so and so” did to get where they are.
    • You have to go FIND the Words of God. You are responsible to open it up and read it. Study it. Let God speak to you through His Word.
    • Luke 12:31-32 – It is His good pleasure to give to you the Kingdom. (Kingdom = wherever God is ruling/reigning.) The Word and what it gives you are part of the Kingdom of God.

Proverbs 4:23, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”

  • You are responsible for where your heart is. You determine which way you’ll go; where your focus is going to be.
    • The next few verses tell you how to guard your heart:
      • watch your words
      • keep your eyes forward – on Him
      • think about where you walk
      • don’t stray off the path of God
      • remove yourself from evil

So, Where is your focus?

 

Do You Believe A Lie?

Cross Blue Skies

Unbelief = Belief in a lie, or what you believe is not the truth about God.

Over the years, as I’ve drawn closer to God and spent more time studying the Bible, I’ve had to take a close look at what I believe. All my life I’ve been involved in church, and each church I’ve been to has held to the belief that they teach from the Word of God. I believe they do, but I also believe that there are times we miss things. Times when we teach what we’ve grown up believing, without really considering if our teachers had it right or if they missed something.

I’m not saying I know what’s right, but I do see things I use to believe, and after doing my own studying, my thoughts have changed.

John 10:10, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

3 John 2-4, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”Feed Faith Starve Doubt

There’s a reason God provided the Word for us. So that we could be aware of the devil’s schemes and be able to stand on the truth He declared. The enemy is a liar above all things, and he knows how to twist things to make us believe his way instead of God’s. And it’s innocent. We don’t even recognize it a lot of the times.

This series will give you things to ponder. Some things you will have to decide what you believe. Study the Word of God. Let the Holy Spirit help you understand His Word. And He will, because He wants you to know Him better, to know the truth. It’s the truth you know that will set you free. John 8:32

This is the list of topics I will cover in separate posts, with a basic summary included. If you want to learn more about a given topic, stay tuned. Once they’re up, over the next few weeks, I will include a link here to each one.

  1. The Sovereignty of God.
    • In our world, today, we have changed the meaning of sovereign in regards to talking about God. In the dictionary, we see that sovereign is simply “a supreme ruler, especially a monarch, or possessing supreme or ultimate power.” Somehow, that has been construed to mean, “completely in control of everything that happens.”
      • God is all powerful. He is completely able to anything and everything He wants to do, but He limits Himself. When He created man, He made man as ruler of this world, the Earth. He gave man dominion and took a step back. He gave man the ability to choose, and man chose to turn this world over to Satan. So, yes, God is possessing supreme power. But, He loves us too much to rule over everything with an iron fist. He allows us to choose whom we will serve and the result is a lot of bad things going on that He did not cause to happen, nor desire to have happen to us, His children.
      • Look at Genesis 1:28, Genesis 3, 3 John 2-4
  2. Interpreting God’s will in light of our own experiences.
    • Our circumstances do not change God’s will. Much of His will is spelled out in the Bible and His Word doesn’t change.
  3. Old covenant vs. New covenant
    • God never changes, but He gave us redemption and is now not holding sin against us.
  4. Paul’s Thorn
  5. I need more faith
  6. Healing
    • There are several parts under this topic that we will discuss, things like God heals some, but now all, If God wants me healed, He will just do it, and other very intriguing things.

I hope you’ll join me as we dive deep into the Word and make decisions on what we believe about God, about Satan, and about our lives as we are here, in this world.

God Rocks

Understanding the Kingdom #3

Kingdom of God

Understanding the Kingdom #3

Today, we’re going to continue our study about the Kingdom of God. Remember, the Kingdom of God is wherever He rules and reigns. We are to seek first the Kingdom of God … let Him rule and reign in our lives .. and when we do, He promises everything we nee,d to live a good, full life, will be provided for us. We don’t have to even ask for it, it just happens as we allow Him that highest place in our lives. (Matthew 6:33)

We are going to look at what happens when we ask for another king. That doesn’t mean we verbally say, “Hey God, I want another king, I’m not happy with the One I have.” Rather, it means we allow something else to work it’s way up higher and higher, until it takes it’s place as ruler in our lives. This is usually a result of believing something contrary to the Word in some area.

We’re going to head on over to 1 Samuel 8. The Israelites have decided they want a king to rule over them. They want to be like the nations around them.

Picking up in verse 9 – 22: God is speaking to Samuel in verse 9,”Now, therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them.”

After verse 9, Samuel delivers a message to the Israelites, telling them just what they would give up by having a king.

  • Family (children): verse 11-13 – to serve him
  • Food/drink (fields, vineyards, olive groves): verse 14-15
  • Livelihood (donkeys, sheep): verse 16-17
  • Freedom: verses 11-22

When we open ourselves up to allowing something or someone else to take lordship of our livGod's Masterpiecees, we are giving up all of those things. We give something lordship when we consider it more than we consider Him. This often happens when we believe our circumstance over the Word.

For example: Just last week, I caught myself believing I’m pretty much of no value to anyone or anything. That I screwed up my life, my kids, and generally just have no worth in the world. Had I continued down that line of thinking, it would have taken over and I would have found myself defeated, depressed, and falling down into a pit I couldn’t crawl out of. Negative thoughts and self-deprecation would have quickly become lord of my life. It would have ruled everything I did. Every decision I made would have been influenced by this way of thinking. Thankfully, I knew the right thing to do when those thoughts invaded my mind: I pulled out my list and began reading it out loud. Making those negative thoughts disappear, and filling my head with what the Bible says about who I am – opening my heart and mind and placing God right back in that top place.

How much are we willing to give up when we give something or someone else rule and reign in our lives? Family? Job? Prosperity? Health?

Having a king, other than The King, is a sin. 1 Samuel 12:12, Samuel is speaking to the Israelites, “And when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammorites came against you, you said to me, ‘ No, but a king shall reign over us,’ when the Lord your God was your king.”

The Lord was already their king. They didn’t need a human king. In the next few verses, we find out that God allowed it, provided them with their king, but gave them a warning. 1 Samuel 12:14-15, “If you fear the Lord and serve Him and ovey His voice, and do not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then both you and the king who reigns over you will continue following the Lord your God. However, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you, as it was against your fathers.”

The good and the bad was dependent on their choices. We get to choose to receive God’s blessing and favor into our lives, or not. It’s completely our choice.

Does that mean we will always have perfect lives with no difficulty in them? no. We live in a world surrendered to Satan at it’s infancy, but it does mean that God will see us through all things. It does mean that we will know how to defeat the enemy and stand strong in Him. It means when we are attacked, be it by just normal, living in a broken world attacking, or by the devil’s schemes, we are well equipped to handle it. When cancer strikes, we are able to stand on the Word of the Lord and receive the healing He wants us to have. When the mortgage is due, both vehicles break down, and the washing machine quits, we are able to stand on the Word of the Lord and see Him provide each and every one of those needs.

One time, in a church small group, a young lady described how she imagines heaven. I’ve never forgotten it, “There is a warehouse with my name on the front, when I walk up to it, an angel opens the door and reveals to me all the gifts God had prepared for me. All the things I could have received and didn’t because of my lack of faith, my unbelief.”

I want my warehouse to be empty. I want to know that I served Him with my everything. That I sought Him as rule and reign over my entire life and in that seeking, received everything He yearned to give to me. How about you? Will you surrender to Him? Will you let Him take His place as King over your life?

To wrap up this part of our Kingdom series, let’s look at 1 Samuel 12:20-25. Through these verses, we can learn some valuable lessons.

Then Samuel said to the people, ‘Do not fear. You have done all this wickedness; yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. And do not turn aside; for then you would go after empty things which cannot profit or deliver, for they are nothing. For the Lord will not forsake His people, for His great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you His people. Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way. Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.”

  • Don’t fear, God loves you. He’s still the Lord, so even when you mess up, just get back at it. Serve Him with all your heart.
  • Don’t turn aside. Those things you’re putting higher than the Lord are just empty, useless things.
  • Remember daily (more like hourly, even minute by minute), the great things He has done, is doing, and will continue to do for and in you.
  • Don’t get swept away, both you and your king. If you allow something or someone else to take a higher place in your life than the Lord, it will begin pulling you away from Him. It will continue to pull you further and further away, the more you follow it. God never will pull away from you, He never leaves or forsakes His kids, but we pull away from Him by choosing to take the reign from Him.

 

 

God Rocks

Making the Main Thing, the Main Thing

Main Thing Jesus

Making the Main Thing, the Main Thing

There was this couple at my church that had it all together, they clearly had made God the main thing in their lives. I watched them. Admired them from afar. Wanted to be them.

Have you ever been there? Maybe you’re there now. That couple, that had God first, seemed to be leaps and bounds above where I was spiritually. From where I was standing, they were the epitome of what it meant to be a Christian. I didn’t understand that my perception probably made them greater than they were. That I really had no idea where they were in their relationship with God, I just knew what I saw at church on Sunday.

It didn’t really matter, in the long run, what unrealistic perception I had of them. What did matter, however, was how my perception of them drove me to move God into a higher place in my life.

It hit me that if I didn’t change something, I would never get there, and that I needed to start somewhere. As much as I hated it, I had to admit that I didn’t even think about God or Jesus much. So, I decided to do something about it; He would become the main thing I would think about.

I needed and wanted God to be my main thing.

I decided to begin by writing Jesus on several sheets of paper. “Jesus,” rather than “God,” just seemed a little bit more personal to me at that time in my life. I put the sheets all over the place. I was home more than anywhere, as I was a mother of three, and two of them were still in diapers. So, I put them all over the house.

Pretty soon, I had Jesus on my mind all the time. He was right there when the joys of motherhood brought tears to my eyes, as well as when the tears weren’t from a happy place. He was there in front of me as I swept the floors and washed the dishes. Every time  I turned around, He was there in the front of my mind. Smiling with me, crying with me. Picking me up and cheering me on.

Making God the main thing is an intentional pursuit, it doesn’t just happen.

In Luke 12:29-32, Jesus tell his disciples to stop worrying about the things they need in this life, but to put God as their main concern, and they’d have their needs met. And verse 32 particularly blesses me, “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” God WANTS to bless us, and all He wants from us is for us to give Him place in our daily lives.

What does it mean to make Him the main thing? It means He is at the top, in the middle, and at the bottom of my list. I’m aware of His presence constantly and remember to thank Him for it regularly. When circumstances come my way and I need Him to carry me through, I know that He is.

I can see God in every single thing I do or am a part of. When I’m running my fingers around on the piano, He is with me. When I lift paint brush to canvas, He is there guiding my hands. When I drive down the road, or push the cart through the store, He is there.

Why you should consider where God is in your life.

When you make Him the main thing in your life, you find joy in even the most tiresome or uninteresting things in your life. It’s comforting to know He is with you while you do the ordinary day to day cycle of life. If you know He is there for all the small things, you’re prepared for the big, hard things, because you know He is there, too.

When He becomes greater, your faith becomes stronger. Your attitudes begin to change and you start getting answers to questions you’ve had about your life. You start to see yourself through different eyes, the eyes of the Almighty. Your whole world changes.

A few tips to getting God up that rung so that He become the Main Thing:

  • Get His name in front of you.
  • Put up art that reminds you of Him.
  • When you are reminded by Him, or a bumper sticker you see on your drive home, don’t ignore it, talk to Him.
  • Open the Bible regularly, or your favorite Bible app. Love Jesus
  • Turn on some good music, close your eyes, and get wrapped up in His love.

I challenge you.

I know it seems tedious, and maybe even a little silly to you, but when a person becomes truly serious about growing in an area of their lives, they’ll do the silly. So, here it is: Get a piece of paper, or better yet, start a journal and at the front, write a declaration something like this:

Today I make a commitment to myself and to God Almighty, to take whatever steps are necessary for me to elevate Him to a place of greater importance in my every day life. I recognize the benefits of doing so are greater than my mind can comprehend and I look forward to becoming stronger in my faith as a result.

Sign and date it. If you are starting a journal, make sure you add to it regularly and include what you see changing within you. And don’t forget to write about the great things He has done for you along the way.

If you’ve found this post helpful or encouraging, please pass it on to others. Hit me up in the comment section for any lingering questions or thoughts.