Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Unsinking Focus

Christians, what is our purpose here on earth? To glorify God. To hope in Him. To share Him. To worship Him. No matter our circumstances.

Yesterday, I had a couple of hours when I forgot this truth. My first day back in the swing of things from a glorious vacation, I was facing some uncomfortable moments of anxiety. One was relational, the other was in the headline news. Yuck. My stomach started to hurt, I felt drained and tired. My thoughts went awry with introspection and analysis. Then anger...

I didn’t even pray for several hours. Instead, I allowed my mind and heart to stay right there. And I was miserable.

As I drove to pick my kids up from school, the Lord, in His gracious mercy, brought a well-known story from Matthew 14 to my mind:

Jesus was walking on water, and it FREAKED the disciples out. I have to say, I’m with the disciples here...that would be over the top crazy. They wanted proof that it was the Jesus they knew.

“Lord, if it’s You,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’

‘Come,’ He (Jesus) said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid...”

Yup. Good ole Peter. Had Jesus right there in front of Him, and He noticed the WIND? Crooked finger circles around and stops right on myself. I was Peter yesterday. I had spent time in His presence earlier that morning, and I saw Him in all His glory. But the wind of worry came and took my eyes off of Him only hours later. And I kept my focus there until my attitude began to sink...

“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’

Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ He said, ‘Why did you doubt?’”

I can picture Peter, his eyes having zoomed back in on the Savior, stuttering...”I-I-I-I don’t know actually. I have no idea why I doubted You, of all people. What was I thinking? Thank You for saving me from sinking.”

Can any of you relate to this? Maybe it’s a problem child or a rocky marriage or the news of public healthcare...uncertainty for the future, a loss of income, conflict with a family member or friend. Maybe your circumstances are so overwhelming that you feel you are sinking under them. Perhaps it’s a bunch of tiny annoyances combined with hormones and stress, stacking up to steal your joy. And even though you have experienced His provision, His peace and His presence in the past over and over and over again, here comes that new wind from a different direction, and you start to sink.

Take a moment to think about the wind of worries in your life. Many of us don’t like to call worry what it actually online dictionary defines it as “to be worried, concerned, anxious, troubled, or uneasy.” In other words, all the feelings we experience when we take our eyes off of Jesus. Truth is, we are all subject to it.

He understands that we will and even why we lose our focus, but He challenges us to do the opposite.
“Why do you doubt? It is I!”
So my friends, my prayer for all of us today is that no matter what or who has blocked our view of the One who does miracles, who provides for every single need, who holds all things matter the care or worry...that we will take the Messiah’s hand and turn our eyes upon Him. “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for HE who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23.

He is sovereign. He is faithful, and I will never EVER sink when my heart’s focus is fixed on Him.

Sing with me:

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace. O soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? There’s light for a look at the Savior, And life more abundant and free! So turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

~Helen H. Lemmel, 1922

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Promise of Potential at the Internet Cafe

I'm at the Internet Cafe today! Please come by and leave your thoughts by clicking here...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Lying Truth

A few years ago, I had gone to my dr. for a checkup on my thyroid. I was so excited to get on the scale (for once), because all that working out and healthy eating was surely going to reap for me the joy of good numbers. You can imagine the huge load of disappointment as I saw that my load had not lightened at all—there was actually a gain. I ranted emotionally to my doctor about how hard I had been working and how healthy I had been eating as she looked at me with pure skepticism.

She didn’t believe me!

A few days later, I found the humility to mention this scenario to my close, no-nonsense friend, who also happens to be a nurse. She always has a way of getting me to look at myself honestly without hurting my feelings. (It’s a gift!) She suggested that I try an online fitness diary to track what I was eating and what activity I was doing. That way, I would have something to take to the Dr. and show her so that we could get to the bottom of it. I mulled it over for a few weeks, then decided to try it. After just a few days of tracking, I realized that I had not been doing as well on my calorie intake OR burning as I had previously thought.

Was I mistaken before, or had I just convinced myself that I was doing it all right?

OUCH! The truth hurts sometimes, doesn’t it? It hurts, but it can help as well. The Lord took this one scenario and reminded me to apply it spiritually.

Psalm 119:29a (NLT) says:  
“Keep me from lying to myself.”  

What wisdom this Psalm writer was given to pray for this! Many lies told outwardly start with believing them in the first place, don’t they? It may be to cope, or to hold on to pride, or to stay comfortable with our routine. Regardless, the Lord wants us to examine this regularly. Every time I do, He shows me the little extra calories of falsehood I’ve put into my mouth, and I’m so thankful He loves me enough to do so.

Here’s the challenge:

Let’s take some time today and ask if we have been honest with ourselves about where we are with the Lord. Do we think we are closer to the Savior than we actually are? Do we think we are living by the Word, when in fact, we've hardly been meditating upon it? Are we open to examine suggestions from others and align it with God’s Truth?

Or in the opposite case, have you allowed someone who loves you to make you believe untruths about yourself? Do you repeat over and over that you're nothing, when in fact, in Jesus you are a capital "S" Something?

When we allow lies to become truth to us, then we begin to tell lies to others, and maybe even to God. When the lying truth becomes comfortable to us, life itself can begin to weigh us down… Check out in Psalm 119 how many times truth is mentioned. A LOT! Notice as you read your Bible, how often the subject comes up as well. A TON!!!! Jesus is the Way, the TRUTH, and the Life, right? The TRUE truth matters, so let’s read it, think it and live by it as His Spirit has the ability to do through us. Let’s weigh ourselves in the light of His truth today.
Jeremiah 17:10, NLT
"But I, the LORD, search all hearts
and examine secret motives.
I give all people their due rewards,
according to what their actions deserve." 
Father God, All-Knowing, All-Seeing Mighty One, I am in awe of Your awesomeness. The fact that You know how pitiful I am, yet You love me anyway. I can fool others. I can even fool myself. But I can never ever never fool You. Thank You. Thank You for loving me in spite of myself. Thank You for knowing just how to handle this fleshly daughter. Thank You for setting me free from so many things. Lord, please help me to live and walk in Your Truth, to know how much You desire it from me. Strengthen me, I pray, in the name of Jesus, my Redeemer, Amen.