Fix Your Focus

Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. Hebrews 3:1

How we feel is largely dependent on what we focus on.

Have you ever been unable to see a bright future ahead of you due to the darkness of you where your attention is centered? Our attention is something we have to stay intentional and consistent with or else it can get away from us.

This is why so many of us fall prey to the influence of our gaze, putting all of our thought into a particular problem. It could be a doctor report, the stock exchange or any other area that captivates all of your concentration in a negative way. One thing is certain, thinking and focusing on our problems will not give you energy to thrive, rather exhaust you and make it incredibly challenging to move forward.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

You can’t fix your problem if your fixated on your problem.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Think about good things. Let’s be direct, it’s substantially easier to say it, rather than do it. However, the more your intentional with your thoughts, the easier it will become.

Too often we react to our thoughts opposed to creating an environment for our thoughts to thrive. How do we cultivate such an environment?

captivity.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:5

Don’t be captivated by our thoughts, hold those thoughts captive. It’s not always easy and it doesn’t happen by accident, you have to practice discipline. When you become more disciplined in your thought pattern, then you will begin to see the bright future God has in front of you.

Keep your eyes fixed on your Savior, not your situation.

The Power Of Thought

Have you ever found yourself feeling overwhelmed and defeated by your thoughts? It can seem like the more we think about that particular problem, the bigger that problem becomes. Problems in life are inevitable, however the way we deal with the problems is entirely up to us.

The more you magnify your problem, the bigger it becomes.
The more you magnify God, the smaller your problem becomes.

Magnify God, not your thoughts.

While I know how hard it is to control your thought process, I also know how hard is to to go through life without God. It is Him, that every good and perfect thing comes from. It is also His presence, where we find fullness of joy. The more our minds our fixed on magnifying and exalting our Lord, the less our minds will have time focusing on the problems we face.

Our brain are constantly working, processing and calculating. We as humans have around 50,000-70,000 thoughts per day. Which compels me to ask; how many of those thoughts are fixated on good things?

What thoughts are you running away from? What thoughts are you running to?

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8

I can’t be the only one who finds it hard to not think of certain things that are captivating my imagination. So many times we fixate our thoughts around our problems, and in turn, stare at our situations through a magnifying glass. Enhancing and Intensifying the problem, shaping a reality based around our thought process.

God did not design you to live a life of constant angst and worry. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us the devil ‘prowls around like a lion’ and seeks looking for someone to devour. The devil is after your thought pattern. If the devil can get you to develop a negative thought pattern, you will develop a negative outlook on life. The great news is we can devour the devourer. While your thoughts may seem as if they are running wild, you have the authority to take them captive.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5

Getting Closer

A follow-up to my previous blog: Seek Him / Find Him

Have you ever felt as if you were nowhere close to The Lord? For some of us, it can seem instead of getting closer to our Heavenly Father, we are moving further and further away.

“Come near to God and He will come near to you.” James 4:8

As I was looking at the window of my plane yesterday, I began to think about all of the signals being sent via satellites all over the world to our phones, radios, tv, ext. We don’t see the signals yet we hear them. The same is true with God, though we don’t see Him, we can hear Him.

However, what happens when you get further away from a satellite? The connection is lost and we no longer can hear it. Have you ever had no cell phone service and your call is lost? Maybe you are listening to a game on the way home from work and you lose signal of the game. Likewise in our spiritual life, when we get further away from God, the harder it becomes to be close to Him and hear His voice.

Choose today to get closer to The Lord. You will never regret it.

“But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.” Deuteronomy 4:29-31

Defeating Fear

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

To understand how to defeat it, we must first understand the thought. We can all agree it is a necessary tool in our lives that yields us from danger. However, just as a hammer is a useful tool, if you use it in every circumstance it’s going to do harm. You are not meant to live your life in fear.

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7

If God gives us a spirit of power, love, and self-control, who gives the spirit of fear? If the devil can keep you in fear, you will continue living in defeat.

Matthew 14:22-34 Peter is no stranger to fear. When he began to walk on the water with Jesus, what happened? The Bible says, “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” When Peter saw the wind, he was afraid. If you were to ask me, “how do you defeat fear?” I would answer, “what are you looking at?

When Peter took his eyes off Jesus, fear took over. In our lives when we don’t keep our eyes fixed on Jesus in every circumstance, it can become easy to get afraid and sink.

“I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4

Choose today to take your eyes off the fear and on to the Father.

Looking Forward

Have you ever had a hard time with focusing on the past? Though the days turn into weeks, and the weeks turn into years, we can often find ourselves dwelling on the unfavorable memories of our yesterday.

“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.” Proverbs 4:25

Can you imagine driving your car while looking only at the rear-view mirror? It wouldn’t end well, would it? Likewise in our day-to-day lives when we look at the rear-view, it does not end well for us. If we are constantly looking what’s be behind us, it makes it hard to navigate through life.

John 8:44 tells us when Satan lies, he is speaking his native language. He wants to do everything in his power to get you to believe the lies of your yesterday. I am writing to let you know, those old, familiar thoughts are lies! You are not your past!
We need to take our eyes off the lies and keep them on the prize!

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14

Notice, Paul didn’t say ‘coasting forward’ but ‘straining forward’. Straining means ‘to make a strenuous or unusually great effort’ and that’s what we have to do in our everyday lives. If we’re not intentional, it can become easy to wake up every day in the yesterday.

Jerimiah 29:11 tells us God’s plan for us is to give us a hope and a future. Choose today to trust your future looks great and keep your eyes fixed on the prize!

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.” Isaiah 43:13

How To Wait On God

Have you ever had a hard time finding contentment while waiting? Whether it’s the doctor’s office or your favorite restaurant, it can be easy to get eager in the wait. In my previous blogs, Those Who Wait and Sow. Wait. Reap. I discuss why it’s important to wait on God. In this blog, I want to talk to you about how to do so.

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

After reading my previous blog, Sow. Wait. Reap. my wife quickly exclaimed, “You should write about how to wait on God!” Since my wife is always right (hopefully she reads this one) I decided that’s exactly what I was going to do. We always hear how ‘Patience is a virtue.’ and ‘Good things come to those who wait.’ However, it is important to understand how to wait. Here are a few principles I believe that is going to change the way you view the wait and help you in the process.

Let Go

I know I sound like the friend who, when you’re going through a difficult time just says, “Hey, just don’t think about it.” Easier said than done, right? But letting go is an important part of the process of waiting for The Lord. God’s time is always the right time, thus as we let go of our own made-up deadlines we allow God to take control. In the U.S. we are split into four different time zones- ET, CST, MT and PST. Too often, we are operating in our own time zone, while God is operating in GIT. God’s Impeccable Time.

Enjoy It

We have to learn to enjoy the process of waiting. Imagine, you are going to climb a mountain that is going to take you two months to get to the summit. What if the only time you told yourself you are going to enjoy the process, is the time spent at the top? That would be a miserable trip, would it not? The end result of our waiting is a destination and if we tell ourselves you’re only going to be happy once we get there, we miss out on enjoying the right now! Everyday life, with God in your life is something to enjoy, no matter what season you’re in!

Think Big

Guys, am I the only one who too often has a hard time forgetting the big picture and viewing my life through a magnifying glass? God’s plan for your life isn’t just this specific season, but a life full of harvest, lessons, and testimonies. Can you imagine if a farmer viewed this year’s harvest as the only harvest of his life? No, for every season is a new harvest just as your life is made up of multiple seasons and harvests.

If you noticed, the first letter of every principle combined spells out LET. That is exactly what I want you to take from this, ‘Let go of trying to take control, leaning on your own understanding, but acknowledge Him and let God make your path straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

If there are things you know the Holy Spirit is telling you to do-then do them, but too often in our lives, we question His timing and try to take control of our life. It is a great thing when we learn to stay still in God’s perfect timing. I would compare it to a restless five-year-old in the backseat of a long car trip yelling, “Are we there yet?” You might not be there yet, but trust in the Father’s timing and I promise you, you will be there in perfect timing!

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” Psalm 27:14

Sow. Wait. Reap.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Patience.
Can we all take a moment and acknowledge how hard this virtue can be to develop and maintain? While we all know patience to be an important part of life, it nonetheless can be a difficult part. Often times in my own life, patience was relatively easy in the early stages of the process but then after waiting-

then waiting some more-

it began to feel more like I was on pins and needles opposed to feeling at rest in the midst of God’s perfect timing. I was relying on my own understanding, rather than trusting in God’s timing.

Unfortunately, I am late sometimes. Alright, most of the time. It is an unintentional habit I’ve established over the years and have yet to kick it. However, God is never late. Notice, I didn’t say The Lord is early either. He is always right on time. Although, we often lose sight of this truth in the midst of our process and that’s exactly what it is- a process.

While I have never been a farmer there is one thing I know. Farming is a process. There is a bridge in between the seed and the harvest, that bridge being the wait. There is a time for the seed, a time for the harvest and likewise a time for the wait.

This blog is a follow up to my previous blog- Those Who Wait where I discuss the importance of waiting on The Lord. The wait isn’t a time to doubt, however, it is a time of expectancy. For as the farmer will see his harvest so will you see your harvest in due time. In perfect time. In God’s time.

But I will watch for the Lord; I will wait confidently for God, who will save me. My God will hear me. Micah 7:7

Wait confidently.

Love One Another

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-45

Love one another.

“By your love everyone will know that you are my disciples.” Loving people is how the world knows we are followers of Christ. Loving one another is a command of the Lord and through obeying this, we allow the world to see not only our love but the love of God.

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8

What a powerful verse. Whoever does not love does not know God. So what this verse is telling me is I can pray until I can’t speak, read His word until I can’t see and seek Him with every fiber of my being, but if I do not love I don’t know Him. If you want to know The Lord- love.

God is the very definition of love. Sometimes we describe people by their characteristic and for example might say, “If you look up the word ‘enthusiastic’ your face would be there.”

“Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14

Is all that you’re doing being done in love? I think of my everyday life- my social interactions with people at work, gas stations, coffee shops, ext. In every situation, I have the choice to show the love of Jesus to those people.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:36-39

Seek Him / Find Him

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jerimiah 29:13

Have you ever felt like The Lord was distant? Maybe there have been periods in your life you felt He wasn’t there at all. I used to contend with these thoughts day in and day out. Observing my current situations, and asking “God are you even here?” I was expecting God to do all the work with no effort on my part. I wanted to find the Lord’s direction, joy, peace, and favor but did not want to put in the work to seek Him.

“Come near to God and He will come near to you.” James 4:8

Notice, the scripture doesn’t say, “He will come near to you and you will come near to Him.” However, it first takes action on our part. This is the way the Lord has it established. Imagine if you had a friend who gave you whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted it- You would never have any incentive to pursue that friend because you wouldn’t value that relationship. God wants us to pursue Him and value our relationship with Him.

Are you feeling alone? Do you need questions answered? Are you questioning if God’s there? Seek.

Seek God and you will find Him. Whenever I would go to get counsel for various obstacles I was facing as I was younger, one of the first things I would get asked is “How much time are you spending with God?” I would think to myself how simple that seemed. Surely for such a complex issue, the answer can’t be as simple as spending time with God, but it is. Seek and you will find.

Any great explorer who ever found something had to put the work in to find it. Christopher Columbus wouldn’t have found the new world if he didn’t sail across the Atlantic.

It seems simple because it is simple. For whatever question you are trying to find an answer, the answer is in God’s Word, in prayer, and on your knees.

“But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.” Deuteronomy 4:29-31

Those Who Wait

“Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:31

“Good things come to those who wait” -on God.

Do you ever find yourself struggling with waiting during your day-to-day routines? Whether my 4G takes five seconds to load rather than the normal two or I have to wait in line an extra three minutes for my coffee, I have found myself trying to rush the inevitable, uncontrollable postponement of my current situations. Existing on a planet that moves at one-thousand miles per hour, it seems I have taken it upon myself to keep up with its speed. While there being nothing wrong with efficiency, it is important to remember in our life there is no two-day shipping or call ahead seating in the timing of The Lord.

Timing is important to God-from the prophecies of the Old Testament to the fulfillment of the New Testament, there is a very clear timeline to the Word of God. Too often we look at the timeline of our life and wrestle with the perfect timing of our Father. When we trust in his timing, we trust in His perfection. As I have said in my previous blog- Hope For Hang-Ups “God’s timing isn’t a second too early or a second too late. It’s perfect.”

Patience is a virtue. It is a virtue that allows us to sit still and at rest in the midst of God’s impeccable plan for our life.

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” Psalm 27:14