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.

What To Do

What direction do I go?
What choice do I make?
What do I do?

Has your life ever came to a fork in the road? Maybe your road looked more as if it was coming to a dead end. Decisions in life are imminent. Though we know nothing in life is certain except uncertainty, it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with direction and choice.

Have you ever felt like no matter how hard you try, you can’t decide which way is the right way. Whether it’s what degree you want to pursue, career you want to chose or investment you want to decide on, life is full of decisions. Maybe your current decision doesn’t seem as life-altering, but maybe you are just trying to figure out who to talk to, what to spend your free-time on or what to consume.

Decisions shape our life. In our desperation, we long for the right decision and put the pressure on ourselves to make it. We weren’t meant to stand on our own understanding, rather trust and acknowledge God.

Trust in the Lord with all your hear and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Here the scripture lays out the perfect two-step process on what to do, when we don’t know what to do.

1) Trust in the Lord
2) Submit to Him

The next two weeks I will be diving individually into these two subjects and looking at the importance of trusting and submitting to the Lord.

No matter how winding and curving your current paths may be. Choose today to trust and submit, and watch your paths become straight.

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

God Uses Your Dirt

“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7

Have you ever looked at your current circumstance and all you could see was arid, barren desolation? Discouraged and hopeless, unable to see any foreseeable life out of your dirt. Let us not forget, life itself came from dirt. God is in the business out taking dirt and making things out of it. I’m here to tell you the very same God who made His favorite creation using dirt can use yours and create incredible things from it!

Ezekiel 37:1-14
What is more desolate than dry bones? Here the Spirit of the Lord shows Ezekial a valley of dry bones and asks him, “Can these bones live?” then proceeds to tell him to speak the bones to life. After he spoke to the bones, they began to hear a noise. The bones came together. Tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them. Then breathe entered them, they came to life and stood on their feet. The scripture refers to them as a vast army.

No matter what you’re going through, if God can take a valley of dry bones and turn it into an army, he can take your dirt and make it life!

God uses what tests you and makes it your testimony.

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.

Moving Forward

The righteous keep moving forward, and those with clean hands become stronger and stronger. Job 17:9

Yesterday is the advisory of tomorrow.

In my previous blog, Looking Forward I discuss the importance of looking forward, This week I want to discuss the importance of moving forward. Taking action is an essential component of our future, though it can be extremely difficult.

Have you ever felt like a pack horse so weighed down by your past, you felt incapable of moving forward? God’s desire for us is that we get stronger and stronger but often times we find ourselves doing the exact opposite, getting weaker and weaker. When we allow ourselves to focus and move toward the past, it should come to no surprise it affects our progress. If you’re not moving forward, you are behind.

We can not take the consequences of moving backward lightly. A lot of things we deal with on a day-to-day are a direct result of moving in reverse. Some of the biggest strongholds we face such as depression and anxiety are a lot of times linked to what baggage we are carrying from our past, in turn making it hard to move on.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” Isaiah 43:18

Can you imagine trying to get to Antartica by moving north? The same is true when we try to move to the future while motioning the opposite way. While it is ok to learn lessons from your past and remember the incredible things God has done for you, dwelling on the negative of yesterday has zero percent chance of bettering your tomorrow.

Forgetting the former
Embracing the new
Moving forward

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.