What are you focused on today? For the past six or so work hours I was focused on what we call an EIR or emergency fix of a work issue. Because of the nature of the process it was important to be focused only on that particular item even when I had other important items I could have tapped along down the road at the same time. In our day of multitasking we think we can just do any number of things and do them well and maybe in some cases we can, but not in all.
In our Christian walk we have to stay vigilant in our focus or we are open to the possibility of temptation which can derail our witness. We must also keep in mind what the Holy Bible tells us about the way we should deal with temptation.
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Cor 10:13
The bible tells us we WILL be tempted. That much is 100% clear. But, it also tells us we can overcome this temptation, if we stay focused. God will provide us with an escape. God will not tempt us past what we are able to withstand, even if we think He is.
A long time ago my Christian mentor, who is long since enjoying the fruits of Heaven, taught me about the J.O.Y. Principle: Jesus is first, others are second and you serve Yourself last. I had to develop my focus on this principle over time, but now I feel I have it in place. It is really not so hard, you just have to be willing to sacrifice for the better of others.
This is my idea for focused, I plan to bounce around to read others.
Daily Post Challenge – Focused
Promises can be a great thing, especially if made by someone in whom you have a deep amount of trust. Someone perhaps like the Creator of all, who just happens to also be our personal Saviour. He made a promise to each of us long ago that He would return to earth one day. That is referred to as the Glorious Appearing.
Why will it be glorious? Because when Jesus returns for the Second Coming it will be to redeem all of those who have chosen Him as their personal Savior. Those still breathing and those whose life ended previously. He will return with a trumpet sounding and riding on a cloud. He will defeat Satan and establish His kingdom on earth for 1,000 years.
That kind of promise is one you can internalize and feel good about forever, which is exactly how long you will spend with our Creator in Heaven.
Daily Post Challenge – Glorious
I love the days when my mind can translate a Daily Post prompt into something I can use on my faith blog. I just think in these days of so much destruction by nature and discord in our lives we need a word from God. No matter your trouble God has written an answer for you within the covers of his love letter, the Holy Bible.
So what about thorny, what has this triggered in the treacherous confines of my noodle? The Crown of Thorns, of course. The instrument of mocking the mighty Roman Empire chose to humiliate the one man who could give them refuge from a death much worse than the one He knew was coming, which is separation from our heavenly Father. The Romans, in their ostentatious pride, thought they were inflicting their authority in even another way with this simple instrument.
I had the blessing of seeing the Passion of the Christ, the feature motion picture that tells the story of Jesus’ last days on earth. While I had learned about the Crown of thorns prior to that, seeing it dramatized as it was really brought home the reality of what agony that surely brought to Christ in His human form. What an instrument of torture this would be.
When we, as Christians, consider the kind of experience Jesus, the single Son of God, knowingly submitted to for our benefit we should be incredibly moved. Since he was fully God and fully man, he knew exactly what would happen long before the Romans came up with their brilliant plan. At any time he could have summoned untold Legions of Angels to his defense, but he did not. He wanted us to see just how much He loves us.
I’m not sure any of us fully recognize just how deep the love Christ smothers upon us can be. We are totally loved just as we are. He sacrificed himself over 2,000 years ago for people not even thought of within earthly minds. Do you have any thought of what will happen two millenniums from today? I heard it described by our pastor in this way: You will never be loved more or less by Jesus than you are at this moment. Everyone craves love, so if you have not accepted Christ’s offer to make your life radically different maybe you should let Him show you His way.
Weekly Photo Challenge – Thorny
Not only is it okay to ask for prayer, but if we don’t we are not availing ourselves of one of our greatest tools as Children of God. No matter who you are, or how together you think your Christian life is you still have human factors waging war against you all the time. Do you think Billy Graham asks for prayer? What about David Jeremiah or Charles Stanley?
I think choosing what you want to write about on your blog can be fascinating. Now certainly there are cases when the scope is narrowed, such as when I take on the regular weekly fiction challenges where a photo subject gives you a loose frame. Also, when I post a Flower of the Day photo I have to excuse the furry squirrels from the equation.
But today when I returned from lunch I saw this tag and it sent my metaphorical wheels in my head turning like wild! If I could figure out a way to charge my phone a little every time I took a photo with it I would never have to worry. But it is because I find so many things interesting that I not only want to capture the image, but share the thoughts tied to it.
There is a set of verses in the bible that talks about the “stiff-necked people”. It is Acts 7:51 and while it more accurately relates how stubborn and obstinate folks are when it comes to allowing the Holy Spirit to lead them I cannot help but draw a comparison in my mind to those who do not think prayer is important.
At my church we have frequent occasions where we share the prayer requests on our hearts and minds. Predominantly these are requests relating a need of someone who is not present or is a relation or friend. Just this week I asked for prayer for our friends in Belize, where we do a significant amount of ministry because a potential hurricane was brewing in the Caribbean Sea.
But, on occasion, someone will ask for prayer if they feel the need. Now you must understand as in most churches we are a close-knit group and know quite a lot about each other and feel comfortable sharing our weaknesses or needs. I understand that is not the way everyone is made. some people are private and do not share, even when the need is great.
Leaving the opportunity to be blessed by the prayer of another or a group of others behind is to surrender one of God’s greatest blessings. We are in this mortal life together and need others to survive and thrive. So my answer to the question at the top is YES. I feel it is perfectly acceptable to ask for prayer.
What about you? Will you ask for prayer when you need it? How do you feel when someone prays aloud for you?
All across the united States hundreds of millions of people took a trip outside to witness one of nature’s more rare events, a solar eclipse. From Oregon to South Carolina a select few were treated to what is termed “totality” where the entire sun is occluded. While I wish I could have been in the number to witness this, I could not. Perhaps in 2024 when we have another I can do so.
But I want to use this event as an illustration of how you can claim to be a Christian, but be as disappointing as an “almost full eclipse”. For example, look at the pictures below. On the left is the “total solar eclipse. You can see the corona all around the sun where the moon has totally covered its bigger contemporary. But on the right you can see a 95% eclipse, an almost total. Do you notice the difference?
To be an effective witness you can not be an almost Christian, or mostly Christian. When you take on that heavy mantle of being a professing Christian in effect you also agree to represent the entire body of Christians living and those who have gone on to their eternal reward. Every word, every deed, every unguarded moment is a potential failing point.
Thankfully God has provided us with grace to cover those moments when our humanness overcomes our practice of Christianity. Christians will inadvertently and sometimes knowingly stumble. We are imperfect creatures with the kind of temptations and desires that can make maintaining the Christian “totality” challenging.
SO as you reflect on the solar eclipse think about how seeing only a partial eclipse can compare to trying to maintain your Christian walk. Do you find yourself lacking in this pursuit? What strategies do you employ to counter those moments.
Isn’t every home temporary? I have called many different places home over my five decade life. There was my growing up home, a place I rested my head for the most of twenty-seven years. A college dorm room for two and a half, an apartment for two semesters as a cooperative education student. A house when first married for 30 days, an apartment for two and a half years, a small home for six more and the current residence going on seventeen years.
But do you understand our home on earth is temporary? Our life will end at some point and our future home will not be temporary but forever. Many choose not to believe this and of course that is their right. I am in the camp that believes if you do not actively choose the better option you default to the one no one wants: An eternity of torment in hell.
2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14:2-3
In John 3:16 Jesus gives us the promise that whosoever believes on Him shall not perish but have eternal life. But where will this eternal life take place? Not on earth, because nothing here is forever. In fact one day there will be a new Heaven and earth.
Jesus is working in Heaven even now to make sure there is a place that will make even the finest of temporary mansions on earth look like a cardboard shanty town. But the best part is that once we get to Heaven we will be so consumed with worship and praise we won’t even know what things compare to on the temporary planet we thought was our everything.
Don’t concentrate on the temporary here so much that you miss the eternal promise God grants to all. The eternal reward easily within your grasp is something you must not allow to escape you.
I stumbled across this new way to spread the happy last week, but life was too hectic to take part. This week is really no less that way, but I cannot go another week without joining the others carving out a few moments to enumerate three things that they are thankful for.
Over the last few months I have seemed to tap into a different plane of my writing ability or rather ability to find subjects. Or maybe I should say a worthwhile blog invitational. Like the Kindness Challenge that will start on Monday. I don’t want to ever take on the persona of one that feels owed or entitled. Since my brother died at age 29 I have considered every day a gift and want to approach it that way.
So can I think of 3 things I am thankful for today? You bet your boots I can.
Tomorrow my son will don a cap and gown and collect the paper work that will declare he is a graduate of East Tennessee State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology. This is an answer to many a prayer let me tell you. As I told my son completing a college degree is no small feat. It is something that will deliver benefits his entire professional career. I know I will not be the only proud parent there, my wife is just as proud, but I am certainly very thankful he had the opportunity.
Over the last five or so weeks I have been beating my brains out and my wife and I have worked endless hours trying to re-build our deck, which we discovered had some structural issues when I had to tear some of it off to access the septic tank we wanted to get pumped. Hours before work and hours after have drained our time from any other project. Add in the coincidence of the graduation party/birthday party we have on the docket for Sunday and the time constraint added some stress. But Wednesday night well after dark and by cell phone flashlight we finished. I am so grateful we could get this completed in time to enjoy as we celebrate these milestones.
My third thing is anticipating having both my kids home from school. Sure it will be an adjustment for all of us, but having the family together is always a good thing. Now that my son will be a graduate I know that the time is coming when he will exit our life to go on his own path and it is something I want for him but kind of dread too. Life changes so quick and trying to adjust on the fly can be tricky.
That is what I have for my first try at Three Things Thursday. I could list so many more and will over the coming weeks. Always remember to give thanks, because anything we have is a blessing from God.